More Neo-Aristotelians spotted!
Since our first Neo-Aristotelian Watch was published, we at NAW have been literally flooded with other sightings of flagrant Neo-Aristotelianism in the public sphere. Here are a few of the latest cases. Stay vigilant.
David Willets, minister for universities and sciences:
I personally have always found the Aristotelian sense of wellbeing - the pursuit of worthwhile goals, the feeling of belonging - as absolutely fundamental. The most crisp summary of that is by Brian Little: 'what really matters is not the pursuit of happiness but the happiness of pursuit'. That captures the ancient classical wisdom that we can draw on for this discussion on well-being.
Richard Reeves, advisor to Nick Clegg:
In political and policy circles, the Aristotelian idea of a good life informs contemporary concerns...with the goal of creating a society in which individuals reach their potential, in a neo-Aristotelian sense.
Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham and Rainham:
We are part of the tradition we can trace back to Aristotle - the desire to build the polis, the community, the city, that allows humans to flourish.
Michael Sandel, political philosopher:
Aristotle can help us because of one central idea. His idea was that politics is about more than affluence and security. He said: at its best, democratic politics is a kind of civic education. It makes us better than we would be if we didn’t participate. It’s a way of becoming fuller human beings – of living “the good life”. To us, that’s a radical idea; that by taking part in public life we can enlarge our vision of ourselves and the world we live in. But I think there’s something in it that the ordinary man is onto, and is trying to tell these politicians.
New Economics Foundation:
well-being is about much more than happiness or positive feelings. It is about living a meaningful life, comprised of good relationships, good work and a sense of freedom and autonomy. We bring this together in our dynamic model of well-being, but the idea has been around at least since Aristotle, who described the good life in terms of flourishing and functioning well. Positive feelings are important, but if we want to go deeper into the causes and consequences of well-being then we need to broaden our scope.
Have you seen more outbreaks of Neo-Aristotelianism recently? Stay calm, don't panic, call Neo-Arisotelian Watch on 0800 V-I-R-T-U-E. Stay vigilant.