Public Philosophy Network

Encouraging and Supporting Publicly Engaged Philosophical Research and Practices


For Goodness' Sake

Following Aristotle, this group is dedicated to reflecting, discussing, and seeking ways to put moral philosophy to work for the sake of personal and social moral progress.

Members: 30
Latest Activity: Oct 25, 2017

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

"Since, then, the present inquiry does not aim at theoretical knowledge like the others (for we are inquiring not in order to know what virtue is, but in order to become good, since otherwise our inquiry would have been of no use), we must examine the nature of actions, namely how we ought to do them; for these determine also the nature of the states of character that are produced, as we have said."


Book II

Discussion Forum

A book about this?

Started by Michael W. Austin Jan 21, 2011. 0 Replies

I'm interested in putting together an edited anthology on this topic. So I'd like to invite people in this group to do 2 things. 1. Brainstorm topics here.2. If you're interested, put together an…Continue

Comment Wall


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Comment by Michael W. Austin on July 3, 2014 at 3:34pm

It has been a long time, but I'm gearing up for doing some more public philosophy, and want to reinvigorate this affinity group. For those members who teach, this is worth checking out given the aims of this group. It is by a religious philosopher, but designed for use in a secular educational setting:

Comment by Nick Tanchuk on August 13, 2011 at 11:07am

Hi Michael,

I guess one might be inclined to ask what we make of the ontological status of virtue; does it bottom out with a communal doctrine that is extrinsic to our person hood (and so is extrinsic as a value) or are there virtues of being human qua human (and so, rightly conceived it is an intrinsic value)? 

What do you think?
Comment by Michael W. Austin on April 16, 2011 at 11:01pm


Thanks for your thoughts on this, I appreciate it. I like the points you raise.

Comment by Eric Thomas Weber on April 5, 2011 at 10:08am
Michael, on the whole I think a teacher is smart to act as he or she teaches others to act, but there are exceptions especially in cases of inability.  The reason it is good to do is to ensure that the teacher is knowledgeable in his or her field.  I take it that this is one reason why professors are supposed to publish.  I can explain my exceptions with an analogy.  Consider the golf instructor who works with a star, like Tiger Woods.  The golf instructor may do best to work at his or her own golf game, but it is not clearly necessary either that the instructor be better than the student, nor that the instructor actually be able to perform the task that he or she teaches or helps someone else to refine.  Similarly, a great singer is likely to have a singing coach who is not better than the great singer, but who knows how to help the star improve over weaker performances.  By the same token, the coach or teacher may not need to be able to perform, though to have learned how and how to teach may require having been excellent at the task in earlier times of life.  I'm not sure about that last part.  I guess what I'm saying is that there can be a difference between knowing how (plus knowing how to teach) and being able to execute the task at present.  At the same time, in some cases, knowing how is the same as being able to execute the function, such as in solving a math problem.  But then, of course, that does not necessarily imply one knows how to teach it.  Ultimately, examples of vice can help people learn about virtue, but it seems to be a good idea to offer oneself as an example of virtuous living.  Without an example, some students may think that advice given is idealistic and not practicable.  That mistake is harder to make when one sees an example of virtuous living.
Comment by Michael W. Austin on April 5, 2011 at 9:08am
I have thoughts about this, but I wonder if others would be willing to offer objections and responses to the claim that part of doing philosophy well, and teaching it well, is seeking to acquire virtue and encourage its presence and growth in others?

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