PHIL 181 - Lecture 9 - Virtue and Habit I

Lecture 9 - Virtue and Habit I


We become virtuous by acting as if we are virtuous. This central insight of Aristotle is explored in this lecture. Professor Gendler begins by explaining how Aristotle’s method can allow us to turn normative laws--which describe how we should act--into descriptive laws--which describe how we do act. But what practical strategies are available to help us turn our reflective behavior (acting as if virtuous) into automatic behavior (being virtuous)? To address this question, Professor Gendler explores a number of surprising parallels between Pavlovian conditioning of animals, successful parenting strategies, and techniques for acquiring virtue by habit.



Haidt, The Happiness Hypothesis, Ch. 2 (pp. 23-44)

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, selections from Books I (pp. 1-3, 16-18), II (pp. 18-30), III (pp. 30-40), X (pp. 167-171)

Kazdin, Behavior Modification in Applied Settings, Ch. 1, 2

Kazdin, Parenting the Defiant Child, Ch. 2, 7

Course Media





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