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[Xmca-l] Re: Habits (Greek: ethos)



Hi, Annalisa,

I think that one reason he's useful is that he was perhaps a
developmentalist at heart.  As I understand it, Aristotle was interested in
what one goes through (the experiences one has, with the help of others) in
order to develop a virtue (or really, to become a virtuous person).

I've been very influenced by the neo-Aristotelian Julia Annas, and her book
Intelligent Virtue (2011), as you'll have seen if you looked at the recent
Human Development paper I mentioned in an earlier post.

Cheers,

Jon


~~~~~~~~~~~

Jonathan Tudge

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On Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 3:44 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> wrote:

> I've been coming across all kinds of references to Aristotle as of late,
> and I'm curious about what makes him valuable to us in modern times, given
> he is a thinker from Ancient times.
>
>
> If anyone would like to pitch in on that question, I'm a willing reader.
>
>
> Just as I'm writing this, I saw Rob's post come in, and in reply to his
> post, I could offer that for the Vedic paradigm of habit, which is held in
> the ethical sense we have been speaking, would be considered a "spiritual
> practice" or "sadhana" in Sanskrit. This is something an individual chooses
> to do as an act of renunciation, or practice, with the anticipation that
> there will be a beneficial result of some kind for that practitioner.
>
>
> In fact doing "tapas," which is a self-imposed austerity, is a way of
> acquiring boons in much of the Indian mythologies, but of course this is in
> the extreme and has the feeling of comic-book superhero drama.
>
>
> Sadhana is more like polishing, or cleaning, or letting go, "simplifying,"
> and this is very similar to the notion of habit in that it is repeated and
> is not a singular event; it is practiced, with the hope it becomes a habit.
>
>
> One reason this seems relevant to habit/ethics discussion is because this
> is an action (activity), and there is considered in that paradigm
> particular actions that will provide particular results.
>
>
> What is interesting to me is how these considerations are very historical
> and culturally specific for the time, but in some ways they seem to have
> some scientific basis, if only because there is an echo of the modern
> worldview that pertains to activity and development of mind.
>
>
> What bothers me is the way this can get problematic if one considers
> notions of "creating" purity through activity. I can't adhere to that,
> because of so many contradictions such a position creates, and how that
> worldview can exclude huge swathes of people.
>
>
> So in light of the recent Chandler article, here is an example of a
> contradiction as being indicated in mature thought, because considering it
> logically, it would mean that everyone is impure and requires a lot of
> "laundry activity" in order to be considered "pure enough" to be ethical.
> That isn't true generally or specifically, so to me, this is taking the
> logic too far, and is where the centering is needed in order to balance
> this logical approach to personal experience and reasonableness.
>
>
> I'm not sure if I'm making sense in this, and I feel tentative about
> writing it, as if I'm not standing on terra firma, but it's something I've
> been thinking a lot about lately and so it's serendipity to be able to
> discuss it (Thanks to everyone participating).
>
>
> It seems reasonable that particular habits one practices will create a
> particular kind of person (because of the mind that is created), and also
> those consequences of building character, as Rob indicates in the Greek
> word of "ethos". (Funny how we say "building character"?)
>
>
> So it seems that the ancients did have some understanding of this, East
> and West. But how do we make sense of it for ourselves? "How" meaning: what
> is that process that we practice?
>
>
> Kind regards,
>
>
> Annalisa
>
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