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Lisen to part of lecture in a philosophy class.

Professor: OK, another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is AristotleAristotle's ethical theory.What Aristotle's ethical theory is all about is this: he's trying to show you how to be happy—what true happiness is. Now, why is he interested in human happiness? It's not just because it's something that all people want or aim for. It's more thanthat.But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction.

Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.To understand Aristotle's interest in happiness, you need to understand this distinction. Some things we aim for and value, not for themselves but for what they bring about in addition to themseves. lf I value something as a means to something else, then it has what we will call "extrinsic value". Other things we desire and hold to be valuable for themselves alone. lf we value something not as a means to something else, but for its own sake, let us say that it has "intrinsic value."

Exercise, there may be some people who value exercise for itself, but l don't. l value exercise because if l exercise, l tend to stay healthier than l would if l didn't. So l desire to engage in exercise and l value exercise extrinsically, not for its own sake, but as a means to something beyond it. lt brings me good health.

Health, why do l value good health? Well, here it gets a little more complicated for me. Um, health is important for me because I can't...do other things l want to do—play music, teach philosophy—if I'm ill. So health is important to me一has value to me—as a means to a productive life. But health is also important to me because l just kind of like to be healthy—it feels good. lt's pleasant to be healthy, unpleasant not to be. So to some degree, I value heath both for itself and as a means to something else: productivity. Its got extrinsic and intrinsic value for me.

Then there's some things that are just valued for themselves. l'm a musician, not a professional musician; ljust play a musical instrument for fun. Why do l value playing music?Well, like most amateur musicians, l only play because, well, l just enjoy it. lt's something that's an end in itself.

Now, something else l value is teaching. Why? Well, it brings in a modest income, but I could make more money doing other things. I'd do it even if they didn't pay me. l just enjoy teaching. In that sense it's an end to itself. But teaching's not something that has intrinsic value for all people—and that's true generally.

Most things that are enjoyed in and of themseves vary from person to person. Some people value teaching intrinsically, but others don't. So how does all this relate to human happiness? Well, Aristotle asks: is there something that all human beings value ...and value only intrinsically, for its own sake and only for its own sake?

lf you could find such a thing, that would be the universal final good, or truly the ultimate purpose or goal for all human beings. Aristotle thought the answer was yes.What is it? Happiness, everyone will agree, he argues , that happiness is the ultimate end to be valued for itself and really only for itself. For what other purpose is there in being happy? What does it yield?The attainment of happiness becomes the ultimate or highest good for Aristotle.

The next question that Aristotle raises is: what is happiness? We all want it, we all desire it, we all seek it. lts the goal we have in life. But what is it? How do we find it? Here he notes, with some frustration, people disagree. But he does give us a couple of criteria, or features, to keep in mind as we look for what true human happiness is.

True human happiness should be, as he puts it, complete. Complete in that it's all we require.Well, true human happiness...if you had that,what else do you need? Nothing, and, second, true happiness should be something that l can obtain on my own. l shouldn't have to rely on other people for it.
Many people value fame and seek fame. Fame for them becomes the goal. But, according to Aristotle, this won't work either, because fame depends altogether too much on other people. l can't get it on my own, without help from other people. In the end, Aristotle says that true happiness is the exercise of reason—a life of intellectual contemplation of thinking. So let's see how he comes to that.



同样,运动可以带来health,我们要的是health就必须要通过exercise这个mean来达成。professor说自己喜欢音乐,单纯是因为play this could give herself happiness。而health本身除了给你更多的精力去make a productive life外,healthy本身状态就让自己feel good,所以health本身是既具有内在价值,也具有外在价值的。


  • philosophy 哲学
  • Aristotle 亚里士多德
  • Aristotle's ethical theory 亚里士多德的伦理理论
  • distinction 区别
  • extrinsic value and intrinsic value 外在价值与内在价值 (其实解释称 非固有价值 和 固有价值 比较好,或者说 非本身价值 和 本身的价值)
  • sake 缘故
  • engage in 参与
  • extrinsically 外在地
  • amateur 业余
  • modest 谦虚的
  • a modest income 中等收入
  • attainment 成就;造诣;达到;获得
  • The attainment of happiness 获得幸福
  • frustration 挫折
  • criteria 标准
  • fame 名望
  • contemplation 沉思


  • its own sake 自己的缘故
  • a productive life  高效生活 (多产的生活,其实从字面上理解也不是错)(因为多产,所以效率高了,其实也就是幸福、富裕)
  • vary from person to person 因人而异
  • What does it yield? 它产生什么?
  • to keep in mind
  • Why is happiness central to Aristotle's theory? 为什么幸福对亚里士多德的理论至关重要?
  • be central to (可理解为 对……至关重要)
  • valued for its own sake 为自己着想

这篇听力的考察点让你想都想不到,The professor gives examples of things that have value for her. Indicate for each example what type of value it has for her. 该题目给出了四个主题:Teaching、Exercise、health、Playing a musical instrument,它们分别对应Only extrinsic value、Only intrinsic value、Both extrinsic and instrinsic value?

答案是teaching和Playing a musical instrument只有intrinsic value,而Exercise只有extrinsic value,毕竟Exercise本身其实并不诱人。health是双重value。如果不认真听的话,可能会忽略掉musical这部分,或者混听了teaching和music。这是最生草的地方,你并不确定哪个部分需要精听,所以需要警惕。




This article was last edited at 2021-02-26 22:27:43

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