Aristotle's Ethics: A Guide to Living the Good Life

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Living the Good Life

Everybody wants to do the right thing, to be the best person they can be, and to help their family and friends to do the same. But why does man have this innate desire to be “good?” What does goodness look like? Are good and evil the same for everyone? Using Aristotle’s Ethics as his guide, John Cuddeback, Ph.D. answers these questions and more, showing how man is shaped by the choices he makes, and how continually choosing the good inevitably leads to happiness.

The Fundamentals of Happiness

To study ethics is to seek to understand the true order of human actions. Dr. Cuddeback discusses what that order looks like, and how it is tied to man’s happiness, by examining these key topics from Aristotle’s Ethics:

• The objectivity of good and evil
• The pursuit of “the chief good,” or human happiness
• The moral, intellectual, and cardinal virtues
• Habits and vices, and how they shape human character

Aristotle’s timeless assertions on the nature of humanity are invaluable in their cogency and simplicity. Dr. Cuddeback’s teaching of the text from a Catholic perspective makes for a deep yet accessible lesson on the profound spiritual dimension of everyday life.

Why study Ethics?

The increasing pervasiveness of moral relativism can complicate the modern Christian’s understanding of good and evil. A choice to study ethics is a choice to clarify one‘s knowledge of goodness. If we are confident in our understanding of good and evil, we can more assuredly pursue lives of Christian holiness. Dr. Cuddeback’s lectures are rich sources of inspiration and insight into human goodness, and how choosing goodness means choosing happiness for ourselves and those around us.

Education for the mind and the soul

While the study of ethics is an intellectual endeavor, it pertains to all aspects of the human person. Dr. Cuddeback’s sensitivity to the Catholic’s quest for holiness allows him to apply ethics to our everyday spiritual lives. Learn how St. Thomas Aquinas’ own study of Aristotle’s teachings left an indelible mark on the Catholic understanding of virtue. Renew your desire to overcome bad habits by understanding the transformative power of good habits.

In this course, Dr. Cuddeback invites you to feed your mind and your soul with timeless teachings on humanity’s pursuit of happiness.
1. The Science of Ethics
The study and goal of ethics is action. Discover the challenges that arise from studying the chief good at which our actions aim.
2. The Reality of Habit and Happiness
What constitutes good human action? Study the importance of habits in the good and virtuous life.

3. What Is True Virtue?
Aristotle defines virtue as a habit of choosing the mean. The virtue of courage is concerned with the passion of fear. Discover how one can practice moderation to perfect this passion of the human soul.

4. Concerning Temperance
The three species of temperance are abstinence, sobriety, and chastity. Observe the virtue of temperance and the vice of self-indulgence and their influence on pursuing the good life.

5. On Justice and Prudence
Justice perfects the rational appetite by giving to others what is their due. One could say that justice is a virtue for others since it is an action done to another. Prudence is an intellectual virtue concerning how we think. Consider these two virtues in light of each other and the correlation between virtues concerning action and thought.

6. Different Kinds of Character
According to Aristotle, there is not only good virtue to pursue to live the good life but also many habits to avoid, namely vice, inconstancy, and brutishness. Since virtue is a mean between extremes, studying these opposing virtues is necessary to discover virtue and the pursuit of the good life in the fullest sense.
7. How to Grow in Virtue
The reason to study moral philosophy and ethics is to change our lives. Human action tends to bring about a corresponding disposition in the soul; therefore, we are more or less prone to particular virtues and vices based on our natural dispositions.

8. The Greatest Perfection
Happiness gives order and meaning to human life. Actions are judged as either good or evil in light of the happiness they bring forth. How does Aristotle's pagan understanding of the meaning of life correlate to the teaching of the Catholic Church? Are Aristotle's beliefs held to be true from a theological perspective? 
Lecture Sample


Meet Your Professor
Dr. John Cuddeback took his B.A. at Christendom College. He received his M.A. from the Catholic University of America where he also took his Doctorate in Philosophy in 1997. He is Professor of Philosophy at Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia.
Professor Cuddeback’s classes include Introduction to Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Human Nature, Metaphysics, History of Medieval Philosophy, Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Ethics, Philosophy of God, Society, and the Common Good, and Philosophy of Family and Household.
His book, True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness was republished by Epic Publishing in 2010. Professor Cuddeback writes and lectures frequently on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, contemplation, and friendship. Dr. Cuddeback authors a popular website and blog at, dedicated to the philosophy of household.
Professor Cuddeback is a member of the American Maritain Association and has served as editorial advisor for Faith and Reason. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics.


Homeschooling Products

The Homeschooling Set includes the Streaming Video and Homeschooling Course Guide. Each Course Guide contains everything needed for a student to complete the course, including:

  • Lesson Plan
  • Quizzes
  • Final Essay
  • Lecture Notes
  • Answer Key


John Cuddeback, PhD
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