Though written more than 2, years ago, it offers the modern reader many valuable insights into human needs and conduct. Among its most outstanding features are Aristotle's insistence that there are no known absolute moral standards and that any ethical theory must be based in part on an understanding of psychology and firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life. In addition, the book vividly reflects Aristotle's achievements in other areas of philosophy and is a good example of his analytical method, which must be considered the ultimate basis of all modern scientific research.
Preliminaries Aristotle wrote two ethical treatises: In any case, these two works cover more or less the same ground: Both treatises examine the conditions in which praise or blame are appropriate, and the nature of pleasure and friendship; near the end of each work, we find a brief discussion of the proper relationship between human beings and the divine.
Though the general point of view expressed in each work is the same, there are many subtle differences in organization and content as well. Clearly, one is a re-working of the other, and although no single piece of evidence shows conclusively what their order is, it is widely assumed that the Nicomachean Ethics is a later and improved version of the Eudemian Ethics.
Not all of the Eudemian Ethics was revised: Perhaps the most telling indication of this ordering is that in several instances the Nicomachean Ethics develops a theme about which its Eudemian cousin is silent.
Only the Nicomachean Ethics discusses the close relationship between ethical inquiry and politics; only the Nicomachean Ethics critically examines Solon's paradoxical dictum that no man should be counted happy until he is dead; and only the Nicomachean Ethics gives a series of arguments for the superiority of the philosophical life to the political life.
The remainder of this article will therefore focus on this work. Page and line numbers shall henceforth refer to this treatise. It ranges over topics discussed more fully in the other two works and its point of view is similar to theirs. Why, being briefer, is it named the Magna Moralia?
Because each of the two papyrus rolls into which it is divided is unusually long. Just as a big mouse can be a small animal, two big chapters can make a small book.
A few authors in antiquity refer to a work with this name and attribute it to Aristotle, but it is not mentioned by several authorities, such as Cicero and Diogenes Laertius, whom we would expect to have known of it. Some scholars hold that it is Aristotle's earliest course on ethics—perhaps his own lecture notes or those of a student; others regard it as a post-Aristotelian compilation or adaption of one or both of his genuine ethical treatises.
Although Aristotle is deeply indebted to Plato's moral philosophy, particularly Plato's central insight that moral thinking must be integrated with our emotions and appetites, and that the preparation for such unity of character should begin with childhood education, the systematic character of Aristotle's discussion of these themes was a remarkable innovation.
No one had written ethical treatises before Aristotle. Plato's Republic, for example, does not treat ethics as a distinct subject matter; nor does it offer a systematic examination of the nature of happiness, virtue, voluntariness, pleasure, or friendship. To be sure, we can find in Plato's works important discussions of these phenomena, but they are not brought together and unified as they are in Aristotle's ethical writings.
The Human Good and the Function Argument The principal idea with which Aristotle begins is that there are differences of opinion about what is best for human beings, and that to profit from ethical inquiry we must resolve this disagreement. He insists that ethics is not a theoretical discipline: In raising this question—what is the good?
He assumes that such a list can be compiled rather easily; most would agree, for example, that it is good to have friends, to experience pleasure, to be healthy, to be honored, and to have such virtues as courage at least to some degree.
The difficult and controversial question arises when we ask whether certain of these goods are more desirable than others.
Aristotle's search for the good is a search for the highest good, and he assumes that the highest good, whatever it turns out to be, has three characteristics: To be eudaimon is therefore to be living in a way that is well-favored by a god.Now some of these views have been held by many men and men of old, others by a few eminent persons; and it is not probable that either of these should be entirely mistaken, but rather that they should be right in at least some one respect or even in most respects.
May 01, · Book VII of the Nicomachean Ethics is identical to Book VI of the Eudemian Ethics; for unknown reasons, the editor of the former decided to include within it both the treatment of pleasure that is unique to that work (X.1–5) and the study that is common to both treatises (VII–14).
The two accounts are broadly similar. A summary of Book I in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of Nicomachean Ethics and what it means.
Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. (Thus, "NE II.2, b1" means "Nicomachean Ethics, book II, chapter 2, Bekker page , Bekker column b, line number 1".) Background [ edit ] In many ways this work parallels Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics, which has only eight books, and the two works can be fruitfully compared.
The Nicomachean Ethics (Ancient Greek: Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics.
The work, which plays a pre-eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum/5. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Questions and Answers. The Question and Answer section for Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.