An argument of aristotle on eudemonia as the highest good in the book nicomachean ethics

If we survey them species by species, too, this will be evident; horse, dog, and man have different pleasures, as Heraclitus says 'asses would prefer sweepings to gold'; for food is pleasanter than gold to asses.

Yet that all the exponents of the arts should be ignorant of, and should not even seek, so great an aid is not probable.

The pleasure of drawing, for example, requires both the development of drawing ability and an object of attention that is worth drawing. A man will not live like that by virtue of his humanness, but by virtue of some divine thing within him. Surely, then, while collections of laws, and of constitutions also, may be serviceable to those who can study them and judge what is good or bad and what enactments suit what circumstances, those who go through such collections without a practised faculty will not have right judgement unless it be as a spontaneous gift of naturethough they may perhaps become more intelligent in such matters.

For to such persons, as to the incontinent, knowledge brings no profit; but to those who desire and act in accordance with a rational principle knowledge about such matters will be of great benefit. To show that A deserves to be our ultimate end, one must show that all other goods are best thought of as instruments that promote A in some way or other.

For this alone Aristotle's book is still worth reading. If one's ultimate end should simply be virtuous activity, then why should it make any difference to one's happiness whether one has or lacks these other types of good. The highest good[ edit ] In his ethical works, Aristotle describes eudaimonia as the highest human good.

A consideration of the prominent types of life shows that people of superior refinement and of active disposition identify happiness with honour; for this is, roughly speaking, the end of the political life.

In modern times, Aristotle's writings on ethics remain among the most influential in his broad corpus, along with The Rhetoric, and The Poetics, while his scientific writings tend to be viewed as of more strictly historical interest.

Preliminaries Aristotle wrote two ethical treatises: Self-love is rightly condemned when it consists in the pursuit of as large a share of external goods—particularly wealth and power—as one can acquire, because such self-love inevitably brings one into conflict with others and undermines the stability of the political community.

For he thinks that this kind of friendship can exist only when one spends a great deal of time with the other person, participating in joint activities and engaging in mutually beneficial behavior; and one cannot cooperate on these close terms with every member of the political community.

Likewise, it is from the soul i. Since reason for Aristotle is not only theoretical but practical as well, he spends quite a bit of time discussing excellence of character, which enables a person to exercise his practical reason i. Like anyone who has developed a skill in performing a complex and difficult activity, the virtuous person takes pleasure in exercising his intellectual skills.

He does not mean that the way to lead our lives is to search for a good man and continually rely on him to tell us what is pleasurable. Since every sense is active in relation to its object, and a sense which is in good condition acts perfectly in relation to the most beautiful of its objects for perfect activity seems to be ideally of this nature; whether we say that it is active, or the organ in which it resides, may be assumed to be immaterialit follows that in the case of each sense the best activity is that of the best-conditioned organ in relation to the finest of its objects.

Aristotle's Ethics

They should be counted as virtues only if it can be shown that actualizing precisely these skills is what happiness consists in. Aristotle's analysis of friendship supports the same conclusion.

These analogies can be taken to mean that the form of akrasia that Aristotle calls weakness rather than impetuosity always results from some diminution of cognitive or intellectual acuity at the moment of action.

But more often what happens is that a concrete goal presents itself as his starting point—helping a friend in need, or supporting a worthwhile civic project.

In what sense it is distinct from the other elements does not concern us. Perhaps a greater difficulty can be raised if we ask how Aristotle determines which emotions are governed by the doctrine of the mean.

It is complete, therefore, only in the whole time or at that final moment. No doubt, however, we must none the less suppose that in the soul too there is something contrary to the rational principle, resisting and opposing it.

He cites and endorses an argument given by Plato in the Philebus: Further discussion of Pleasure. All the virtues spring from a unified character, so no good person can exhibit some virtues without exhibiting them all. But Aristotle is not looking for a defense of this sort, because he conceives of friendship as lying primarily in activity rather than receptivity.

So the argument has by a different course reached the same point; but we must try to state this even more clearly. He will elaborate on these points in X. Intellectual virtues are in turn divided into two sorts: Rather, according to Epicurus, virtue is only instrumentally related to happiness.

The candidates that he mentions are a 1 life of pleasure, 2 a life of political activity and 3 a philosophical life. Definition[ edit ] The Definitionsa dictionary of Greek philosophical terms attributed to Plato himself but believed by modern scholars to have been written by his immediate followers in the Academyprovides the following definition of the word eudaimonia: For while we may become pleased quickly as we may become angry quickly, we cannot be pleased quickly, not even in relation to some one else, while we can walk, or grow, or the like, quickly.

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.

As Aristotle argues in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics, the man who possesses character excellence does the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way. Bravery, and the correct regulation of one's bodily appetites, are examples of character excellence or virtue.

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.

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.

Aristotelian ethics

Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle. Commentary: Quite a few comments have been posted Nicomachean Ethics By Aristotle Written B.C.E Translated by W. D. Ross: Table of Contents Book X: 1 and that which is good for all things and at which all aim was the good.

His arguments were credited more because of the excellence of his. Definition. The Definitions, a dictionary of Greek philosophical terms attributed to Plato himself but believed by modern scholars to have been written by his immediate followers in the Academy, provides the following definition of the word eudaimonia: "The good composed of all goods; an ability which suffices for living well; perfection in respect of virtue; resources sufficient for a living.

The Nicomachean Ethics An argument of aristotle on eudemonia as the highest good in the book nicomachean ethics
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SparkNotes: Nicomachean Ethics: Book I