PHL/CNE 370 Study Guide for Aristotle Exam
1. Describe Aristotle's biography, where and when he was born, his family, education, the (name of the) school he founded, and his career (CCR 645–654).
Categories Chs. 1-5
2. Explain Aristotle's definitions of homonymy, synonymy, and paronymy; give examples of each.
3. Give examples of things said of a subject but not in any subject; things in a subject but not said of any subject; things both said of and in a subject; things neither in a subject nor said of a subject.
4. Explain Aristotle's taxonomy of specimen, species, genus, primary substance, and secondary substance. Explain what differentiae are.
5. List, explain, and give examples of Aristotle's Ten Categories (things "said without any combination").
6. What is an affirmation composed of? Explain the concepts of particulars and universals.
7. Explain the seven reasons why primary substances are substances most strictly (Categories Ch. 5).
8. Explain the relationships between prayers, sentences, statements, affirmations, and negations.
9. Present Aristotle's Square of Opposition (A, E, I, O, contraries, contradictories).
10. Explain the distinction between essential properties and 'coincidents.'
Topics Book I, Chs. 1, 2, 5
11. Identify Aristotle's definitions of deduction, premisses, common beliefs (endoxa), definition, distinctive property, genus, and coincident.
Physics Book II, Chs. 1–9
12. Explain Aristotle's account of how, exactly, animals, plants, earth, air, fire, and water differ from artifacts like beds and coats (Ch. 1).
13. What are the two senses of nature described at 193a28 and 193b3?
14. Explain Aristotle's concept of telos. In what precise sense is Aristotle's account of nature 'teleological'? Describe the telos of an acorn.
15. What are the Four 'Explanations' ("on account of what"s)? Give examples of each for various animate organisms and inanimate objects. What is the cause of the house being built potentially? What is the cause of the house being built actually? (Ch. 3).
16. What is the final 'explanation' of human beings? What sort of thing is being happy? Why does Aristotle think that neither inanimate things, nor nonhuman animals, nor children do anything by luck? (Ch. 6: 197b5–9).
17. Describe Aristotle's 'Biting' Argument for Teleology (Ch. 8).
18. What does Aristotle mean when he says 'art imitates nature'? In what sense is nature like a doctor doctoring herself? (Ch.8)
De Anima (selections)
19. Explain Aristotle's complex theory of the soul (psyche). What are the three different senses of substance he identifies in Ch. 1? Why does Aristotle think that the body cannot be soul? What are the two levels of actuality, and what is each akin to? Identify Aristotle's two different definitions of the soul.
20. Aristotle says that the body is to the soul as the wax is to what? As the axe is to what? As the eye is to what? Does Aristotle think that a soul can exist without a body?
21. What are the three levels (types) of soul? What kind of organism has each type? What are the characteristic discriminations, functions, and activities of each type of soul? What are the two most basic kinds of desires (wanting)? (Ch. 2)
22. What is the fourth class of animate beings? What type of soul do its specimens have?
23. Compare and contrast Aristotle's account of Passive and Active (Productive) Intellect. What qualities does each have? (Chs. 4–5).
Posterior Analytics Book II, Ch. 19
24. Explain Aristotle's epistemology, theory of perception, and theory of experience and universals. How are universals formed? How is knowledge of the first, immediate principles (premisses) gained?
Book I, Chs. 1–3
25. State verbatim the first sentence of Chapter 1.
26. Explain Aristotle's account of how experience (empeiria) differs from art/craft (techne) in relation to knowledge (episteme) (Ch. 1).
27. Identify the four things that distinguish the wise man (Ch. 2)
28. Why does Aristotle think that all of the sciences are more necessary, but none are better, than the science of first principles? (Ch. 2: 983a4–12).
Book XII, Chs. 6–9
29. Describe the argument for the contingency of objects.
30. Describe the argument for non-material substances.
31. Describe the argument for the necessary existence of the Primary Mover.
32. Explain Aristotle's account of how love makes the world go around.
33. Explain in detail Aristotle's account of the Primary (First) Mover. What characteristics does "the god" have? What activities does "the god" perform? What is the nature of "the god"?
34. Explain Aristotle's cosmological model of the arrangement of the universe.
Candidates for essays are numbered in red.
1. Explain the argument for the superiority of superordinate crafts and ends over subordinate crafts and ends in Ch. 1. Give examples.
2. What is identified as the 'most controlling science' in Ch. 2? What are the three subordinate sciences under this ruling science?
3. Explain the degree of exactness and certainty that is said to be possible in the study of ethics (1094b20 f., 1104a1-9 and elsewhere).
4. Explain the nature of good judging and who the unconditionally good judge is (1095a1).
5. To benefit from the study of ethics (and political science) what is necessary? (1095b4)
6. What are the four prominent types of life (Ch. 5)? What criticisms are made of three of these lives to disqualify them as candidates for what eudaimonia consists in?
7. Explain Aristotle's argument that 'happiness' (eudaimonia) is the final, complete end (i.e. supreme good). For what reasons must it be a kind of activity? (Chs. 7-8)
8. Present Aristotle's argument for a human ergon (1097b24-1098a17).
9. State precisely A's complete definition of eudaimonia (Ch. 10: 1101a14-18; not in CCR).
10. Identify the three types of goods distinguished in Ch. 8.
11. Explain the relationship between noble and virtuous actions on the one hand, and pleasure and pain on the other (Ch. 8: 1099a18-20). Explain the role of pleasure and pain in A's ethical theory.
12. Identify and contrast the intellectual virtues and how they are acquired with the virtues of character and how they are acquired (Ch. 1). Explain how virtues arise differently than things that come by nature (e.g. the senses). Give examples of various virtues of character.
13. Explain the importance of habituation in A's account of character development (Chs. 1-2).
14. What is the purpose of studying ethics? (Ch. 2: 1103b27)
15. Explain A's brief argument that virtue of character is concerned with pleasures and pains (Ch. 3: 1104b9-11). What evidence does A offer for his view?
16. Identify the three objects of choice and their corresponding contraries (the three objects of avoidance) (Ch. 3).
17. State the three features of the state an agent must be in to perform a virtuous action in a virtuous way (Ch. 4: 1105a30-33).
18. Identify the three genera of psychic conditions and explain what each condition is (Ch. 5). Explain A's argument for which of these is the genus virtue belongs to.
19. Present the argument that every organ and organism has its own excellence (1106a18-24).
20. Explain in detail A's Doctrine of the Mean (intermediate) (Chs. 2 & 6). Distinguish the intermediate in the object from the intermediate relative to us. Give examples of things that admit of excess, deficiency, and the mean. Identify the five aspects of having feelings, pleasure, and pain in "the intermediate and best condition... proper to virtue" (1106b20-23). State which three feelings and which three actions do not admit of an intermediate and explain why.
21. State precisely A's complete definition of arete (1106b36-1107a2).
22. Diagram A's anatomy of the human soul (i.e. its divisions and sub-parts) and explain the function of each part (Ch. 1).
23. What are the three things in the soul that control action and truth? (Ch. 2) What originates action? What is decision, exactly? (1139b4)
24. Explain in detail A's account, and definitions, of phronesis and sophia (Chs. 5, 7, 12, 13). Distinguish cleverness from phronesis. Explain the difference between natural virtue and full virtue.
25. Identify the three kinds of moral states to be avoided and their contraries (Ch. 1).
26. Explain in detail A's theory of akrasia (incontinence). What does A say about Socrates' view of akrasia? (1145b27-28) What two senses of "know" does A distinguish in his account of akrasia? What three types of people are comparable to the akratic man? How does the self-indulgent man differ from the akratic man? (Ch. 3) Describe how A uses the practical syllogism to identify the reasoning behind the akratic man's behavior.
27. Explain why eudaimonia is not a state (Ch. 6: 1176a34).
28. Present the argument for what eudaimonia consists in (Ch. 6-7). Include the sub-argument that "happiness" is not found in amusement. Explain what theoria is (1177a18-20). Describe the Seven Reasons the supreme virtue is sophia and the happiest activity is theoria. Why are children, nonhuman animals, and slaves incapable of eudaimonia?
29. Describe A's account of the life that is happy in a secondary degree (Ch. 8: 1178a9-b7). Why do humans choose this kind of life?
30. Present A's argument that the gods must study ("theorize") (Ch. 8).
31. Explain A's view of who arguments do and don't influence. What do the many naturally obey? (Ch. 9: 1179b7-19).
32. Why are laws and punishment needed? What do the many yield to? (Ch. 9).
Politics, Book 1
33. Explain the argument that the polis aims at the highest good (Ch. 1).
34. Describe in detail the argument for the natural genesis of the polis (Ch. 2: 1252a25-1252b30).
35. Present the argument that humans are the most political animals (Ch. 2: 1253a8-18). What specifically produces both a household and a polis?
36. Present A's brief argument that the polis is naturally prior to the individual (Ch. 2: 1253a26-27).
37. Explain under which conditions a human being is the best animal, and under which conditions a human being is the worst animal (Ch. 2: 1253a31-40).
38. Explain A's view that a human being who by nature lives apart from human communities is either subhuman or superhuman (Ch. 2: 1253a2-7, 1253a28-29).
Copyright © 2012 William O. Stephens