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Tue, Sep 08


3206 Fairfax Walk

Aristotle's Concept of Prudence

Join Dr. Erik Dempsey for a three-week seminar series that will cover Aristotle's understanding of phronesis--what allows us to make good judgments about life as a whole.

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Aristotle's Concept of Prudence

Time & Location

Sep 08, 2020, 7:00 PM – Sep 22, 2020, 8:30 PM

3206 Fairfax Walk, 3206 Fairfax Walk, Austin, TX 78705, USA

About The Event

***In-person attendees are invited to arrive at 6:30p. We will begin our program at 7:00p sharp for virtual attendees***

***Registration for this event is full. We welcome you to RSVP if you would like to be put onto our waitlist.***

For Aristotle, prudence, or phronesis in Greek, means good judgment about life as a whole. This idea of prudence is intimately tied to the idea of moral virtue, since for him, the good life is the virtuous life. In this seminar, we'll do a careful reading of select passages from the Nicomachean Ethics, and examine how Aristotle's prudent person makes judgments about how to act rightly, and decides which goods are worth choosing. In the last meeting, we'll compare Aristotle's idea of prudence to Niccolo Machiavelli's.

About our scholar:

Dr. Erik Dempsey,

Lecturer and Assistant Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Study of Core Texts and Ideas

Dr. Dempsey completed his doctorate at Boston College in June 2007. He is interested in understanding human virtue, and the proper place of politics in a well-lived human life, the different ways in which human virtue is understood in different political situations, and the ways in which human virtue may transcend any political situation. His dissertation looks at Aristotle's treatment of prudence in the Nicomachean Ethics, and Aristotle's suggestion that virtue should be understood as an end in itself. He is currently at work turning his dissertation into a book by adding chapters which consider Thomas Aquinas' interpretation of Aristotle in terms of natural law, and Marsilius of Padua's critique of Thomas.  He grew up in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY and graduated from Hastings High School. As an undergraduate, he attended St. John's College in Annapolis, MD where he began to study the Great Books seriously. From June 2000 until August 2001, he worked for DynCorp in Chantilly, VA, doing mathematical modeling and providing other support for the GETS program. From September 2007 - May 2008, he taught in the Herbst Program for the Humanities at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

About this year's theme for our programs:

Prudence: a Word, a Virtue, a Theme

This year, following the requests of our students, the Austin Institute has developed its academic programming around a common theme that will unify the activities of the semester.

The focus of our fall programming is on the most underestimated and yet most needed virtue of prudence.

Prudence will also guide our practical choices for our programs. All in-person and/or online programming conform to current health guidelines. We want to keep everyone safe while providing program opportunities during this pandemic.

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