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Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Nicomachean Ethics

by Aristotle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,12728668 (3.84)58
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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
  JDHomrighausen | Mar 19, 2015 |
One of the most accessible works of Aristotle or ancient philosophy in general, but also one of the most practical, because its subject is ethics, or how to live one's life. ( )
1 vote Audacity88 | Feb 7, 2014 |
Plato and Aristotle between them not only laid the foundations for Western philosophy, many would argue they divided it neatly between them: Plato the one who with his "Allegory of the Cave" gave birth to the idea of an existence beyond our senses, giving a rational gloss to mysticism. Aristotle, the father of logic and a scientist, with a this-world orientation. There's a famous fresco by Raphael, "The School of Athens," where that's illustrated, where the figure meant to be Plato points to the sky--the heavens--while Aristotle points to the ground--to this Earth. If you're going to ask me which school I belong to--at least as so categorized, Aristotle wins, hands down. Yet if you ask me which philosopher I found a joy to read, which a slog--well, Plato wins.

Unfortunately, much of Aristotle's works were lost, and what remains I've seen described as not his polished material, but "lecture notes." Plato's dialogues are like little plays, and reading them often are, I daresay, fun. Yes, really. So it was disappointing not to find Aristotle as lively a read. This is dry stuff. But then there are the ideas, which fully earn the five stars. Back when I was introduced to ethics in school, about the only two choices we were given was Utilitarianism--the "greatest good for the greatest number" or Kant and his "categorical imperative" with examples contrasting them such as, under Utilitarianism, if torture leads to good for the greatest number, then by all means, let the water boarding begin! Under the categorical imperative, on the other hand, rules... well, rule. It doesn't matter if there's a ticking atomic bomb, you don't use torture. You're not supposed to care about practical consequences, to yourself or others. What's left out of both philosophies is the individual and his or her happiness. But that's not left out with Aristotle. For him ethics is practical and about the pursuit of happiness. It's for that and from that virtues flow. It's in our personal interest to be virtuous, to practice habits of character that lead to a good life for a human being. Those ethics that appeal and resonate to me come from this school of thought. It's philosophy for human beings, on a human level. So, Plato for style--Aristotle for substance. For me, anyway. ( )
1 vote LisaMaria_C | May 25, 2013 |
Aristotle vs. Plato

Having just finished and enjoyed Plato's complete works, I find this book a bit annoying and uninspiring in comparison. Aristotle seems to take every opportunity to "correct" Plato, when in fact he is only attacking a strawman. His arguments, sometimes self-contradictory, often support and clarify Plato's ideas, albeit using his own terminology.

Aristotle seems to have great difficulty appreciating or understanding Plato’s abstractions (from species to genus, from the individual instances to the common patterns, i.e. Idea or Form). This is the cause of the majority of his attacks against Plato, as “piety requires us to honour truth above our friends.” How very noble of him!

I don't know whether the Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum charged their students fees. If not, there were no financial incentives in disparaging their rival. If it was purely intellectual rivalry, using straw man is often a sign of an inferior intellect or character. Since both Plato and Aristotle believed that the intellect was the best part of man or the true man, to attack and destroy another's ideas would be equivalent to murder (or Freudian parricide).

However, it could also be true that Aristotle was formulating his own philosophy through engagement with Plato's ideas, and intellectual competitions and debates help facilitate the development of sound ideas. Since this is the first book by Aristotle that I've read, it's very likely that I'm not giving him his due here. It may take some time to switch from Plato to Aristotle's way of thinking.

A Champion of Mediocrity

Aristotle's definitions of good, virtue and happiness are unsatisfactory to me. Good is "that at which all things aim". All people aim at happiness (or pleasure), therefore happiness is the supreme good. But, what exactly is happiness or pleasure? How can one hit his aim if he can't discern what he is aiming at? If virtue is "the mean between deficiency and excess", what is the difference between virtue and mediocrity?

"Pleasure perfects activity not as the formed state that issues in that activity perfects it, by being immanent in it, but as a sort of supervening [culminating] perfection, like the bloom that graces the flower of youth." How can a fleeting thing that lacks permanence be the object of a lifelong pursuit?

In the end, Aristotle agrees with Plato, perhaps begrudgingly as it was dictated by reason, that happiness is contemplation of the divine, which is pleasant, self-sufficient and continuous. He insists on making a distinction between activity and state, but in this instance the distinction is unclear to me.

An Acute Observer of Human Nature

There are a few things I do appreciate in this book. Aristotle's joie de vivre (his delight in learning, being alive and active), his insights into human nature, his clear and penetrating psychological portrayal of various character traits and the dynamic relationships or transactions between human beings. He also introduced me to Pythagorean's fascinating mathematical representation of equality, A:B = B:C and A-M = M -C. ( )
2 vote booksontrial | Jan 4, 2013 |
De Ethica Nicomachea is een van de meest toegankelijke teksten van Aristoteles. Het is ook een belangrijk werk, want het is de eerste systematische uiteenzetting over ethiek in de westerse wijsbegeerte. Bovendien staat het werk aan de oorsprong van een bepaalde wijsgerige reflectie, de zogenaamde 'geluksethiek'. Het werk heeft een diepgaande en blijvende invloed uitgeoefend. Het heeft gangbare opvattingen over ethiek helpen vormen. Wie de Ethica ter hand neemt, zal vertrouwde begrippen en problemen ontmoeten.

De Ethica is geschreven voor de volwassen politieke burger met levenservaring, die goede vorming behoeft om juiste wetten voor de gemeenschap te ontwerpen. Om goede wetten te maken dient men de structuur van de ziel te kennen, te weten hoe men een voortreffelijk karakter verwerft, en inzicht te hebben in de verschillende types van rechtvaardigheid. Met deze vaardigheden is de politicus in staat wetten te maken die het geluk van de burgers kunnen bevorderen. De Ethica is hierom te beschouwen als een handleiding voor toekomstige wetgevers en politici.

Het geluk vormt het hoofdthema van de aristotelische ethiek. Het geluk bestaat niet uit één element, maar bevat een veelheid aan wenselijke onderdelen. In de Ethica onderzoekt Aristoteles de vraag wat geluk nu precies kan zijn, en bouwt zijn uiteenzetting op rond de drie typen van gelukkig leven: het geluk van de genotsmens, van de burger en van de filosoof. De vorming van goede eigenschappen, zowel die van het karakter als die van het verstand, ligt aan de basis van Aristoteles' deugdenethiek. De ethiek van Aristoteles blijft stevig verankerd in de praktijk van het leven in de gemeenschap. De Ethica is te beschouwen als een onderzoek naar het menselijk geluk en naar de middelen om dit geluk te realiseren.

De Ethica is het eerste deel in de grote serie Aristoteles in Nederlandse vertaling.
NBD|Biblion recensie
In het kader van de sterk gegroeide belangstelling bij een breed publiek voor de antieke filosofie past de Aristoteles-reeks van de Historische Uitgeverij Groningen uitstekend. Door een deskundige redactie wordt een hele serie tractaten van de grote Griekse denker (vierde eeuw v. Chr.) in een moderne Nederlandse vertaling voorbereid. Het eerste deel is nu verschenen: het bevat de 'Ethica', (ook wel 'Ethica Nicomachea' geheten), een van Aristoteles' invloedrijkste werken, met een problematiek van normen en waarden, die hoogst actueel is. De vertaling van de Vlaamse classici-filosofen is goed leesbaar - dit lijkt een minimale kwaliteit, maar te bedenken valt dat het Grieks ronduit stroef is! Een heldere inleiding en een ruime voorraad noten maken het werk toegankelijk. Er is een handig namenregister toegevoegd. De bibliografie, die beknopt is gehouden, had wellicht een wat internationaler karakter kunnen hebben. Verzorgde uitgave met leeslint.
(Biblion recensie, Dr. R.Th. van der Paardt.)
  BibliaSpiritualia | Dec 23, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
The volume before us is much more than a translation. The translators, Robert C. Bartlett, who teaches Hellenic politics at Boston College, and Susan D. Collins, a political scientist at the University of Houston, have provided helpful aids. ... Together these bring the original text within the compass of every intelligent reader.

» Add other authors (105 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aristotleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Apostle, Hippocrates G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Broadie, SarahEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, LesleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bywater, IngramEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knuuttila, SimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ostwald, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, F. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowe, C. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The ideas which Aristotle sets out in his Nicomachean Ethics make up one of the most celebrated and influential of moral philosophies. Ever since its construction in the fourth century BC, Aristotle's ethical system has had a profound and lasting effect: by later philosophers it has been warmly embraced and hotly repudiated, never coldly ignored; and in various ways it has helped to mould the common moral consciousness. Thus modern readers who take up the Ethics for the first time will find themselves already familiar, at least to some degree, with several of its leading notions. And the apparent perspicuity of the work's general structure may encourage them to sail with celerity through its long and winding channels of argument. [from Barnes's Introduction (2004) to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE)]
Every art and every investigation, and similarly every action and pursuit, is considered to aim at some good. Hence the good has rightly been defined as 'that at which all things aim'. Clearly, however, there is some difference between the ends at which they aim: some are activities and others results distinct from the activities. Where there are ends distinct from the actions, the results are by nature superior to the activities. Since there are many actions, arts and sciences, it follows that their ends are many too—the end of medical science is health; of military science, victory; of economic science, wealth. In the case of all skills of this kind that come under a single faculty'—as a skill in making bridles or any other part of a horse's trappings comes under horsemanship, while this and every kind of military action comes under military science, so in the same way other skills are subordinate to yet others—in all these the ends of the directive arts are to be preferred in every case to those of the subordinate ones, because it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursued also. It makes no difference whether the ends of the actions are the activities themselves or something apart from them, as in the case of the sciences we have mentioned. [from Tredennick's revision (1976) of Thomson's translation (1953) of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (ca. 350 BCE)]
Every art or applied science and every systematic investigation, and similarly every action and choice, seem to aim at some good; the good, therefore, has been well declared as that at which all things aim.
Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action as well as choice, is held to aim at some good.
Every art and every kind of inquiry, and likewise every act and purpose, seems to aim at some good: and so it has been well said that the good is that at which everything aims.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0872204642, Paperback)

Building on the strengths of the first edition, the second edition of the Irwin Nicomachean Ethics features a revised translation (without extensive editorial intervention), expanded notes (including a summary of the argument of each chapter), an expanded Introduction, and a revised glossary.

Terence Irwin is Susan Linn Sage Professor of Philosophy, Cornell University.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:20 -0400)

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"Happiness, then, is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world.' In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle's guiding question is: what is the best thing for a human being? His answer is happiness, but he means, not something we feel, but rather a specially good kind of life. Happiness is made up of activities in which we use the best human capacities, both ones that contribute to our flourishing as members of a community, and ones that allow us to engage in god-like contemplation. Contemporary ethical writings on the role and importance ofthe moral virtues such as courage and justice have drawn inspiration from this work, which also contains important discussions on responsibility for actions, on the nature of practical reasoning, and on friendship and its role in the best life. This new edition retains and lightly revises David Ross's justly admired translation. It also includes a valuable introduction to this seminal work, and notes designed to elucidate Aristotle's arguments"--Provided by publisher.… (more)

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