Annual Aristotle and Aristotelianism Conference



“Political and Ethical Philosophy in the Aristotelian Traditions”

Tenth Annual Marquette Summer Seminar on

Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition

24-26 June 2015

Presented by the Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy

and the Aquinas and the Arabs Project

Thanks very much to the presenters and attendees for another wonderful meeting with thoughtful and penetrating presentations and discussions.

Marquette University

Department of Philosophy

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This Conference is intended to provide a formal occasion and central location for philosophers and scholars of the Midwest region (and elsewhere) to present and discuss their current work on Aristotle and his interpreters in ancient, medieval and contemporary philosophy.

ATTENDING ONLY: Send Registration check with name, address, academic affiliation.


(fees cover breakfasts, refreshments, picnic dinner one night)

Advance Registration ($60 by check) Deadline: May 1.

NOTE => After May 1 Registration only at the door: $70 cash.

CHECKS SHOULD BE MADE OUT TO: Marquette University

(Fees are waived for Marquette students, faculty and staff for on campus events only.)

Conference Proposal Submission Guidelines

Established Scholars: send a title and tentative abstract;

Graduate Students & Younger Scholars: send a title, abstract, CV and a supporting letter from your faculty advisor or dissertation director.

NOTE: Abstracts should be 150 words or fewer. Do not send entire papers.

Send applications by email to:


The Selection Committee will select presenters on the basis of quality of proposals (title and abstract) and scholarly record as the primary criteria.

PROGRAM ANNOUNCED: March 2015. The first review of submissions will take place March 1. This date should be considered the deadline for submissions since it is likely that the conference program will be completed at that time.

Presenters will be asked to confirm their participation by paying the registration fee when offered the conference slot.


Registration Form.

=> ALL ATTENDEES (including the Marquette community) are asked to register.<=








(Registration fees are waived for members of the Marquette community.)


Print the Registration Form above and send your check made out to “Marquette University” to:

Owen Goldin

Philosophy Department

Marquette University

P.O. Box 1880

Milwaukee, WI 53201-1881

Conference Schedule 2015

WEDNESDAY JUNE 24 : Raynor Library Beaumier Conference Center rooms B&C.


8:45 - 10:00: [1] Prof. Rob Bolton, Rutgers University, “Scepticism and Eudaimonia: Aristotle's Contribution to the Tradition”

10:05 - 11:20: [2] Prof. Jason Aleksander, Saint Xavier University

“Freedom and Phronesis in the ​Divine Comedy

11:25 - 12:40 [3] Mr. Jerry Green, University of Texas at Austin, “Practical nous in Aristotle’s Ethics”

12:40 - 2:15 pm Lunch: suggestions: MU Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union) Lunda Room, Jimmy John’s Subs, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.


2:15 - 3:30: [4] Dr. David J. Riesbeck, Rice University, “Aristotle on the Value of Citizenship”

3:35 - 4:50: [5] Prof. Josh Hayes, Alvernia University, “Aristotle’s Cosmopolitanism: AlFārābī and the Arabic Reception of the Nicomachean Ethics

4:55 - 6:15: Prof. Terence Klevin, Central College, “Dialectic and Political Philosophy in Ibn Rushd’s Book of the Unveiling of the Methods of Proofs with Respect to the Beliefs of the Religious Community” 

Some local downtown Milwaukee modest cost dining options accessible by walking or short bus ride:

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. Review here.

Old German Beer Hall. Review here.

Alem Ethiopian Village. Review here.

Port of Call Bistro and Beer Garden. Review here.

For many more options, see or look here.

THURSDAY JUNE 25 : Raynor Library Beaumier Conference Center rooms B&C.


8:45 - 12:40 [7] Ms. Michèle Anik Stanbury, University of Notre Dame,

“Understand the End from the Beginning: Prôtos Oikeios in Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Conception of Teleology”

10:05 - 11:20 [8] Prof. Javier Echeñique, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Chile,

“Alexander of Aphrodisias on the Value of Human Life: Ethical Problems 1.”

11:25 - 12:40 [9] Prof Audrey L. Anton, Western Kentucky University

Aristotle’s Theory of Moral Motivation in Nicomachean Ethics X

12:40 - 2:15 pm Lunch: suggestions: MU Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union) Lunda Room, Jimmy John’s Subs, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.


215 - 3:30 pm [10] Prof. Gene Fendt,University of Nebraska, Kearney

“What is the “art community,” and what is it good for?: An essay in Aristotelian politics”

3:35 - 4:50 [11] Prof. Eli Diamond, Dalhousie University

“Human and divine self-sufficiency: Leisure and mind as the goal of political life in Aristotle’s ​Politics

4:55 - 6:10 [12] Prof. Norman Lillegard, University of Tennessee

“Why Thrasymachus Must be Wrong: Aristotle on Justice and Moral Training”

7:00 pm Picnic (location to-be-announced)

Carpooling available.

FRIDAY JUNE 26 : Raynor Library Beaumier Conference Center rooms B&C.


8:45 - 10:00 [13] Prof. Ed. Halper, University of Georgia, “Aristotle’s Moral Realism: Phronēsis in Nicomachean Ethics 6”

10:05 - 11:20 [14] Prof. Thornton Lockwood, Quinnipiac University

Basileia in Aristotle’s Politics and Latin Medieval Aristotelians”

11:25 - 12:40 [15] Prof. Mor Segev, University of South Florida

“Traditional Religion and its Natural Function in Aristotle”

12:40 - 2:00 pm Lunch: suggestions: MU Law School Cafe, AMU (Student Union) Lunda Room, Jimmy John’s Subs, Qdoba, Miss Katie’s Diner, and more in the immediate area.


2:00 - 3:10 [16] Prof. David K. Chan, University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

“Justice and the Role of Law in Aristotle’s ​Ethics ​and ​Politics”

3:10 - 4:20 [17] Ms. Allison Murphey, University of Notre Dame

“Identifying with the Well-being of Others: Aristotle on Sunaisthesis

4:20- 5:30 [12] Ms Angela Lill, University of Dallas

"Neither Beast nor God: The role of the philosopher in Aristotle’s Polis"

5:30 - 5:45 Closing remarks and discussion of next year’s thematic focus

5:45: Exit library which closes at 6:00 pm.

Some local downtown Milwaukee modest cost dining options accessible by walking or short bus ride:

Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery. Review here.

Old German Beer Hall. Review here.

Alem Ethiopian Village. Review here.

Port of Call Bistro and Beer Garden. Review here.

For many more options, see or look here.



Conference sessions for 2015 will take place in the basement conference center of Raynor Memorial Library. For location information and nearby parking see

HOUSING (to be updated in March 2015):

On campus housing is available at a modest cost (approximately the following but subject to change: $50 single; $72 double = $36 per person; $81 triple - $29 per person; $90 quad = $22.50 per person).   To reserve a room contact the housing office directly:  Carrie Enea at 414-288-4737 or via email at  Rooms requested are subject to availability.

Rooms will be at Straz Tower, 915 W. Wisconsin Avenue, a three block walk from the conference location.


Just a few blocks East from Marquette University is the Holiday Inn Milwaukee City Center, 611 West Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203. Tel. 1-414-273-2950.

For further information on the hotel, see

A few blocks West from Marquette University is the very charming Ambassador Hotel: 2308 W Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233. Tel.(414) 342-8400

For further information on the hotel, see

(Mention that you are attending a Marquette conference may get you a discount. Be sure to ask.)


For directions to the Marquette Campus, see

For a map of the Marquette University campus, see

For a map of downtown Milwaukee, see

For parking information, click here or go to:



For a shuttle, see

Downtown Milwaukee: info from

    * Expect a taxi to cost around $30 or more due to fuel costs.

    * Most convenient: Airport Connection shared ride van serves a frequent loop of most downtown hotels.

    * Cheapest: MCTS bus route 80 serves 6th St. downtown, next to the Frontier Airlines Center and nearby hotels. Travel time is 25 minutes, often not much longer than taxi or van.

Straz Tower is at 9th and Wisconsin.

Midwest Seminar in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy link:

Aquinas and ‘the Arabs’ Project link:


Conference Abstracts – Alphabetical Order

Jason Aleksander, PhD (M) Associate Professor and Chair Saint Xavier University

“Freedom and Phronesis in the ​Divine Comedy”

One reason for the Divine Comedy’s central place in the Western canon is its encyclopedic character and broadly synthetic approach to its own source materials. Yet, while there can be no doubt that both Aristotle and Augustine are among the most significant authorities for the author of the Divine Comedy, the Comedy’s synthetic approach to these two authors leaves significant tensions between them unresolved in its depictions of the human soul and its powers. Nevertheless, there can be no doubt that the Comedy is also more than the mere sum of its parts. Accordingly, this paper will attempt to draw out from the tensions between the Divine Comedy’s Aristotelian and Augustinian foundations—especially in Purgatorio 1618 and Paradiso 47—a coherent account of the nature of human freedom as necessarily oriented to what is good but as realized only through the cultivation of phronesis.

Audrey L. Anton, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Western Kentucky University

"Aristotle’s Theory of Moral Motivation in Nicomachean Ethics X Or Why the carrot still needs the stick for backup"

I argue that Aristotle gives priority to politics over ethics because consequences of his moral psychology threaten an individual’s ability to enjoy the contemplative life. The contemplative life requires order and leisure; however, man is doomed to a disorderly life of pleonexia if not situated in a well-functioning polis. We are born with the desires of animals already honed in. Our moral perception derives from habitual action. Since reason develops late, we begin life with poor moral perception due to years of satisfying only bodily desires. For this reason, we require a good polis, which generates and enforces laws that steer us in the right direction and deter us from vice. While it is true that much of moral education is done in the home, it is likely that our moral perception requires correction well into adulthood. Furthermore, the phronimos requires a peaceful environment in which to practice contemplation. 

Robert Bolton, Rutgers University, forthcoming

David K. Chan, Interim Chair and Professor University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

“Justice and the Role of Law in Aristotle’s ​Ethics ​and ​Politics”

Justice as a political virtue is unlike other virtues of character in a number of ways that have been frequently discussed. In this paper, I discuss the problem of how habituation in justice is possible. Does Aristotle’s view that the upbringing of the young should be regulated by the laws of the state to facilitate the acquisition of good character apply to how citizens acquire the virtue of justice? Given that just outcomes are brought about in the polis through legislation and judicial decisions made by those who have the merit to 2 be officeholders, how does the nonjust individual become habituated to act justly for its own sake? I will examine some ways of answering this question, with implications for the role of the ideal constitution in Aristotle’s political philosophy. Finally, I will contrast Aristotle’s view with that of Maimonides, who gives moral law a bigger role in character formation.

Eli Diamond, Dalhousie University Associate Professor

“Human and divine self-sufficiency: Leisure and mind as the goal of political life in Aristotle’s ​Politics”

The city is the most self-sufficient human community, but even this most complete human association is only “nearly” self-sufficient (Politics 1252b2930). For while containing everything within itself required for its citizens to 3 live and live well, like any natural substance it is, beyond its self-relation, also an individual relative to other individuals, as manifested in its foreign relations, its economic activity in times of peace, as well as the wars which threaten its very existence. Due to its intrinsic completeness, a city which lived in such isolation that it did not need to think of military defense against neighbouring states is possible, but unlikely. In general, Aristotle writes that besides its people and the city as a whole, the legislator must think about the relations between cities. This merely relational 1 self-sufficiency which is limited by individuals outside itself is the source of the finitude which distinguishes the divinity of the city from the non-relational and apolitical self-sufficiency of the gods, who “are happy and blessed, not by reason of any external good, but in themselves and by reason of their own nature.” 2 I suggest that the social instinct and desire which defines the human as a political animal and draws it into the natural association of the family and rational association of the polis is ultimately a desire for this complete self-sufficiency beyond the human, which the various forms of association and constitutions approximate to varying degrees of success. This desire not to be determined by necessity from without is a desire for a political life ordered towards noble actions performed for themselves in leisure, not just living, but living well. This leisure, Aristotle states provocatively, is the one principle, mia arche, of all political life. This desire for leisure is in turn, I want to argue, a 3 desire for the self-related activity of mind and reason, since “in men reason and mind are the end towards which nature strives, so that the birth and training in customs of the citizens ought to be ordered with a view to them.” In this way, 4 mind or god is the telos of the distinctively human activities of the political animal, a substance within a political substance which yearns for the perfect self-sufficiency of the first immaterial substance.

Javier Echeñique, Assistant Prof., Department of Philosophy, Universidad Alberto Hurtado, Chile

“Alexander of Aphrodisias on the Value of Human Life: Ethical Problems 1.”

In the first chapter of his Ethical Problems, Alexander of Aphrodisias argues against the Stoic thesis that human life is an ‘indifferent’ (something that is neither good nor bad), while presenting his own positive view on this matter. This is the first known attempt in the history of Western philosophy to systematically argue in favour of the value of human life, and it has received very little attention from scholars. In this paper I carefully analyse Alexander’s argument, demonstrating its validity, the Aristotelian premises of which it is composed, and more importantly the peculiar sort of value that Alexander here attributes to human life. In the course of doing so I try to remove various obstacles that may prevent us from accepting the argument’s premises, with a view to showing its initial plausibility and its philosophical significance.

Gene Fendt,  Albertus Magnus Professor of Philosophy, University of Nebraska, Kearney

“What is the “art community,” and what is it good for?: An essay in Aristotelian politics”

Politics begins saying "every community is established with a view to some good" (1252a, cf. NE 1160a919). Aristotle then divides types of rule into those that are despotic and those that are political, both of which can be out of place. From these distinctions this paper will argue that since the end of polity is the same as the end of the individual—happiness, and since the bond of union in the polity is justice (1253a37), any particular art community (of either sort of rule) exists, then, as does friendship (a) by choice aiming at one of three goods (pleasure, use, virtue), (b) for the final end of happiness (c) within a greater community whose bond is justice and whose end is also happiness. This analysis shows that Aristotle's good "arts communities" would be under restrictions that are not exceptionally different from those Plato lays out in Republic 3, and that the licence granted the arts in liberal democracies works to no plausible communal good.

Jerry Green, UT Austin

“Practical nous in Aristotle’s Ethics”

Aristotle’s moral psychology has been central to determining the proper place of the Common Books, printed as both NE VVII and EE IVVI. But this discussion has focused mainly on phronesis. Here I focus instead on nous. I argue that in the undisputed books of the NE there is only one logos-having part of the soul, nous, which both contemplates and issues commands. Moreover, law operates as a kind of nous, and that the subject of politikē is ultimately contemplation. These positions are all inconsistent with the Common Books and the EE, which both sharply distinguish between theoretical nous and practical phronesis. This suggests that the NE is properly only books IIV and VIIIX. If right, this would have serious repercussions for (i) our understanding of happiness in the NE and the EE, and (ii) our understanding of the relationships between, inter alia, the NE, EE, and Politics.

Ed Halper, Professor Dept. of Philosophy, University of Georgia

“Aristotle’s Moral Realism: Phronēsis in Nicomachean Ethics 6”

Although Aristotle devotes Nicomachean Ethics 6 to expounding all the intellectual virtues, the account of phronēsis is usually center stage. This paper argues, first, that Aristotle’s account of phronēsis here is constructed on an analogy with his account of episteme in the Analytics. Apart from helping to explain the structure of the book, this interpretation provides insight into the workings of phronēsis and into the faculties of sunesis and gnome, often wrongly supposed to be political faculties. Second, the paper argues that just as scientific inquiry seeks a middle term, practical deliberation seeks a middle term of a practical syllogism and that, so understood, phronēsis is a strategic thinking. This explains why personal and political phronēsis are the same, though different in scope. Third, the paper argues that phronēsis is the intelligible form of a physical process and, thereby, a “right reason” that is the basis of a moral realism

Dr. Josh Hayes, Alvernia University

“Aristotle’s Cosmopolitanism: AlFārābī and the Arabic Reception of the Nicomachean Ethics”

It is widely assumed that Aristotle’s ethical and political works do not espouse a theory of cosmopolitanism. In contrast to the Stoic cosmopolitēs, Aristotle does not address the alleged value of ethics and politics as domains of inquiry that transcend the historical and cultural boundaries of the polis. However, al-Fārābī in his treatises, Attainment of Happiness (Taḥṣīl al-saʿāda) and Harmony between the Views of Plato and Aristotle (Kitāb al-jamʿ bayn raʾyay al-ḥakīmayn, Aflāṭūn alilāhī wa Arisṭūṭālīs) consistently indicates the need to consider the function of Aristotle’s account of political association on a cosmopolitan level. This paper investigates al-Fārābī’s interpretation of a uniquely Aristotelian cosmopolitanism with particular attention to his claim that the structure of the polis corresponds to the structure of the world. Al-Fārābī’s reception of the Nicomachean Ethics demonstrates the possibility that Aristotle’s model of the virtuous citizen be understood on a global and even on a cosmic scale.

Terence Kleven, Professor of Religion, Central College

“Dialectic and Political Philosophy in Ibn Rushd’s Book of the Unveiling of the Methods of Proofs with Respect to the Beliefs of the Religious Community” 

Ibn Rushd’s Book of the Unveiling of the Methods of Proofs with Respect to the Beliefs of the Religious Community (Kashf ‘an Manāhij al-Adilla  fī ‘Aqā’id al-Milla) is the third in a sequence of treatises that he wrote on religious topics. The first two treatises in the sequence are the Epistle Dedicatory (the so-called Ḍamīma) and the Decisive Treatise (Faṣl al-Maqāl). Ibn Rushd begins the Unveiling by distinguishing between two parts of religion, the external and the figurative, and he explains that the external is pertinent to the masses while the figurative is pertinent to the learned. His stated aim in this treatise is to identify what the external meaning of religion is and to show how various schools of thought in Islam deflect away from the intention of this external meaning. The results of these methods is that these schools produce sophistical arguments and they lead to disunity in the community. In the process of making this exposition, Ibn Rushd articulates sufficiently to us the nature of several Aristotelian logical arts, especially the arts of rhetoric, dialectic and demonstration, in order that we are able to use these arts to distinguish between true and false defenses of religion. The treatise continues with the argument of the first two treatises in the sequence, that is, that religion functions as a moral and political entity to create justice and harmony rather than as an individualistic pursuit of an otherworldly, mystical unity with God.

Angela Lill, University of Dallas

"Neither Beast nor God: The role of the philosopher in Aristotle’s Polis"

In the Politics Aristotle seems to suggest that living well, or the complete life, requires participation in the polis. The best life is then often construed as either the practical/political life or an understanding of the contemplative-philosophic life that involves participation in the polis. I argue that further consideration of Book 7 of the Politics in conjunction with Nicomachean Ethics X.7-8 is at odds with such interpretations. Aristotle portrays a tension between the contemplative life as the best life simpliciter and the well-lived life that participates in the polis. Further, I argue that the tension is intentional and necessary, revealing (i) the limits of political endeavors due to Aristotle’s view of human nature and (ii) the political responsibility of the philosopher in light of those limits.

Dr. Norman Lillegard, Professor Emeritus, University of Tennessee

"Why Thrasymachus Must be Wrong: Aristotle on Justice and Moral Training"

I seek in this paper to provide a fleshed out version of the following arguments.

Justice, Aristotle avers, is complete excellence (arête) ‘in relation to others,’ in it ‘every excellence is comprehended’ (NE 1129 b, quoting Theogonis).  This claim can be linked with the “statesman argument” of NE Book I, to the effect that the highest good is what the politikos aims at, since that includes all good practical aims. Aristotle knows that Thrasymachus is lurking, ready to deny that justice is anything more than a device used by the strong to get what they want (though sometimes a constraining device given anything less than divine or magical powers). So to live, (to keep promises only when doing so promotes personal advantage or to avoid punishment etc. ) is to have the best life possible. How can Aristotle reply?

The materials for an answer are scattered about NE. Consider parental training of children (which also serves Aristotle as a model for the relation between the rational and non-rational parts of the soul). Children naturally seek their own good, but have no independent standard for that good, so they need upbringing.  Like everyone else they learn largely from example (from what is done, not just said). The child naturally divines an essential Aristotelian idea, that happiness consists in practical activity, and thus will go by what is done when a conflict between it and precept arises (NE 1172 a).  Given these facts what could Thrasymachus do in raising a child? Presumably he would want a child stupidly compliant with those standards of justice which when observed by others sometimes make his pursuits easier. But since the child does what Thrasymachus does, Thrasymachus has an uphill battle (to say the least) if he would avoid grooming an enemy. Moreover, Thrasymachus was himself a child, raised by some person P.  Did he acquire his ability to deceive and exploit from P,  who could not see the danger in raising a  potential enemy?  But such a stupid person could not raise a Thrasymachus. 

A life lived as Thrasymachus advises could only be the best life for isolated individuals without the need for any training, that is, Hobbesian pre-social abstractions, operating with a (merely imaginary) instrumental rationality that has no origin.  Such a life is not practicable. 

On Aristotle’s view there could be no such individuals. We are not born with any kind of practical rationality, but only with a propensity to seek our own good, and the search will be futile without others (so that is the value in the cliché ‘man is by nature social’(politikos), 1097 b 11).  As a being in need of others to achieve my good, as a being needing to be nurtured by others both physically and in acquiring  rational capacities, I will need the trust in others that justice assumes.  This argument does not provide me with particular rules of justice, but it does exclude the Thrasymachean view in which the only sociality humans have is one of fear, manipulation, exploitation.

Thornton Lockwood, Assistant Professor Quinnipiac University

Basileia in Aristotle’s Politics and Latin Medieval Aristotelians”

Contemporary scholars of Aristotle’s Politics are generally dismissive of his account of “kingship” (basileia) as either an empty placeholder in his sixfold scheme of constitutions or an anachronism—one which Aristotle himself points out has been displaced as an option because of demographic and economic shifts in 4th century BCE Greece (1286b2023, 1297b24, 1305a15, 1313a45). Yet when one turns to 13th century Latin Medieval Aristotelians such as Thomas Aquinas (in De Regno), Dante Alighieri (in De Monarchia), and Ptolemy of Lucca (in De Regimine Principum), Aristotle’s discussion of kingship serves as fertile ground for lively debate about the nature of kingship, kingly rule, and their contrast with political rule. No doubt, the application of Aristotle’s Politics to the political world of 13th century Europe casts a different light on the Politics than do the political institutions of 4th century BCE Greece. But are scholars such as Cary Nederman and Janet Coleman correct to claim that the Latin Aristotelians had at best a shallow understanding of Aristotle’s Politics because of their own unfamiliarity with the political institutions which it describes? Or can Latin Aristotelians help contemporary readers of Aristotle’s Politics better appreciate Aristotle’s own commitment to non-Republican forms of rule? My paper examines the writings of Aquinas, Alighieri, and Ptolemy to see what light they shed on the significance of kingship within Aristotle’s Politics.

Allison Murphy, University of Notre Dame

“Identifying with the WellBeing of Others: Aristotle on Sunaisthesis”

When Aristotle in NE IX.9 explains why the virtuous man requires friends, he twice uses the term sunaisthesis to refer to a synoptic perception that grasps something as both good and one’s own. The term first characterizes a reflexive perception the virtuous man has of his own life. Aristotle identifies life principally with perceiving and thinking, activities that are actualized forms of the good man’s existence and thus his own. These activities are also ordered expressions of human nature and therefore good. In his second use of sunaisthesis Aristotle suggests the good man can have the same synoptic appreciation of his friend’s life. When the good man and his friend collaborate in virtuous activities they share in a flourishing form of life that is identified with both individuals at once; in appreciating this fact, the good man perceives his friend’s flourishing as both good and his own.

David J. Riesbeck, Postdoctoral Fellow in Classical Studies, Rice University

“Aristotle on the Value of Citizenship”

This paper argues, contrary to a dominant view, that Aristotle does not regard political activity as an intrinsic good, but strictly as a means to intrinsically good ends. I first elaborate this interpretation by appeal to the account of finality and choice worthiness in NE I.7 and the discussion of citizenship in Pol. III.13. I then defend the view against prominent objections based on (i) eudaimonia as the end of political community, (ii) the identification of the participants and beneficiaries of politics, (iii) the identification of the virtues of a citizen and a good man in Pol. III.4, and (iv) the defenses of the political life in Pol. VII and NE X. Finally, I offer an alternative account of the value of citizenship as in most circumstances a necessary condition for living in accordance with one's own deliberate decisions, itself a necessary condition of human flourishing

Mor Segev, Assistant Professor University of South Florida

“Traditional Religion and its Natural Function in Aristotle”

Aristotle criticizes the content of Greek religion severely. He thinks that it is demonstrably false. Surprisingly, however, he also holds that traditional religion and its institutions are necessary if any city, including the ideal city he describes in Politics VII-VIII, is to exist and thrive. Traditional religion is necessary, I argue, because it prepares the ground for what Aristotle considers the pinnacle of human endeavor: attaining the knowledge of first philosophy, whose objects are real beings worthy of being called gods, viz. the unmoved movers of the heavens. Religion performs this function by exposing citizens to the traditional depictions of divinity. These, in turn, generate in the citizens with the right potential the sense of “wonder” (thaumazein) about gods that guides them from such mythological conceptions to an inquiry into the nature of the true god(s) of Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Michèle Anik Stanbury, Medieval Institute University of Notre Dame

“Understand the End from the Beginning: Prôtos Oikeios in Alexander of Aphrodisias’ Conception of Teleology”

ABSTRACT: ​One of the Hellenistic approaches to Aristotelian ethical teleology was to understand the end of human nature by considering our original state, from birth. A debate was waged among the Stoics, Epicurians, and Peripatetics over how to interpret the initial state of human desires (often spoken of in terms of the prôtos oikeios), a starting point thought to have implications for how to determine the human telos. Alexander of Aphrodias wrote on this question in his Mantissa, arguing against the Stoics and earlier Aristotelians for what he considered to be a proper interpretation of the prôtos oikeios within the Peripatetic framework. His argument hinges on a distinction between the subject and object of a desire. I will discuss the strengths of his interpretation, addressing the question of whether such a theory is indeed consistent with Aristotelian ethical theory and whether it adds a valuable insight into our understanding of Aristotelian ethics.

For information on the “Aquinas and the Arabs International Working Group,” click HERE.

Marquette Hall

Alumni Memorial Union,

Marquette University

Philosophy in the Abrahamic Traditions :

al-Farabi. 11-13 June 2014

For information, click HERE or visit