[MaFLa] reminder: invitation to a philosophy talk on`The Difference between Teaching and Habituation in Plato and Aristotle`by David Ebrey - 14 January, 5.30 PM

Krisztina Biber Biberk at ceu.hu
Mon Jan 13 10:23:25 CET 2014

The CEU Department of Philosophy cordially invites you to a talk
(as part of its Departmental Colloquium series)
David Ebrey (Northwestern University) 
`The Difference between Teaching and Habituation in Plato and
Tuesday, 14 January, 2014, 5.30 PM, Zrinyi 14, Room 412
One of Plato and Aristotle’s insights is that moral education should
develop both reason and the emotions. But how should it do this? Should
there be a single type of education that simultaneously develops both
reason and the emotions or should these be developed by separate
processes? If separate, how should they relate to each other? Our
answers to these questions will be tightly connected to our
understanding of moral psychology: what is the relation between reason,
desires, and emotions, and what role do they play in a good life? I
argue that Plato and Aristotle have interesting, compelling, and yet
importantly different answers to these questions. It is frequently
thought that their views on moral education are very similar, perhaps
with different emphases. I argue that they differ on some key issues. We
can put the basic issue this way: are there fundamentally different
methods for acquiring different virtues, or is the acquisition of virtue
a more holistic process, in which the same sort of training is involved
in the acquisition of the virtues? Aristotle thinks that there are two
fundamentally different processes for different types of virtues.
Habituation is the process for developing the non-rational part of our
soul and, in doing so, one develops the character virtues. Teaching, by
contrast, properly develops the rational part of the soul, leading to
the intellectual virtues. Plato, by contrast, doesn’t think that there
are fundamentally distinct processes for developing the different parts
of the soul. Instead, in Plato’s Republic moral education sometimes
involves the same activity developing different parts of the soul and
sometimes involves very different activities developing the very same
part of the soul. Typically the goal of this web of activities is to
bring the different parts of the soul into harmony, not to separately
develop the different parts. And Plato doesn’t contrast teaching with
habituation at all. He gives habituation a different role from
Aristotle, an interesting development found in his Phaedo, Republic, and
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