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The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin Classics) by…

The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin Classics) (edition 2004)

by Aristotle (Author), Hugh Tredennick (Editor), J. A. K. Thomson (Translator), Jonathan Barnes (Introduction)

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7,09935786 (3.85)60
Title:The Nicomachean Ethics (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Aristotle (Author)
Other authors:Hugh Tredennick (Editor), J. A. K. Thomson (Translator), Jonathan Barnes (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: 1, 400 pages
Collections:Your library

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Nicomachean ethics by Aristotle

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Eh, at least its not Plato. I read this as context/ground for Aristotle's more socially-oriented works. ( )
  alexanme | Dec 9, 2018 |

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle postulates the highest human good is eudaimonia or what is loosely translated into English as happiness. And a substantial component in the path to such human happiness is acting with the appropriate virtues over the course of an entire lifetime. The details of these Aristotelean teachings form the Nicomachean Ethics, one of the most influential works in the entire history of Western Civilization.

As a way of sharing but a small example of Aristotle’s extensive philosophy outlined in these pages, I will focus on Book IV Chapter 8 where the eminent Greek philosopher addresses the virtue of being witty, sensitive to others, discerning and perceptive, particularly when we are at our leisure. Here are six Aristotle quotes and my brief accompanying comments:

“Since life includes rest as well as activity, and in this is included leisure and amusement, there seems here also to be a kind of intercourse which is tasteful; there is such a thing as saying- and again listening to- what one should and as one should.”--------- Aristotle’s focus on time spent outside of work, what we nowadays refer to as ‘leisure time’, makes this section of his ethical teachings particularly relevant for us today, most especially since we are bombarded by a nonstop barrage of advertisements, store signs, billboards, Muzak, etc. etc., some subtle, many not so subtle.

“The kind of people one is speaking to or listening to will also make a difference.” --------- Very important who we associate with both at work and outside of work. Aristotle is optimistic that we can actively participate in society and exercise discrimination as we develop wisdom to speak as we should and listen as we should. In contrast, another Greek philosopher, Epicurus, was not so optimistic on this point. Epicurus judged conventional society as blind and dumb, particularly as it pertains to men and women expounding values regarding such things as riches and fame and what constitutes our true human needs. The answer for Epicurus: withdraw into a separate community with like-minded friends and philosophers.

“Regarding people’s views on humor there is both an excess and a deficiency as compared with the mean. Those who carry humor to excess are thought to be vulgar buffoons, striving after humor at all costs, and aiming rather at raising a laugh than at saying what is becoming and at avoiding pain to the object of their fun while those who can neither make a joke themselves nor put up with those who do are thought to be boorish and unpolished.” -------- Sounds like Aristotle attended the same junior high school and high school as I did. Again, he is optimistic that someone who aspires to philosophic excellence, virtue and the mean (maintaining a middle position between two extremes) can live among buffoons and boors without being pulled down to their level. The question I would pose to Aristotle: What happens when we live in an entire society dominated by vulgar buffoon and uptight boors, where the buffoons and boors set the standards for what it means to be human? Particularly, what happens to the development of children and young adults?

“But those who joke in a tasteful way are called ready-witted, which implies a sort of readiness to turn this way and that; for such sallies are thought to be movements of the character, and as bodies are discriminated by their movements, so too are characters.” ---------- “I had an opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak. You will be hard pressed to find someone with a more lively sense of humor. If you haven’t seen him speak, you can check out Youtube.

“The ridiculous side of things is not far to seek, however, and most people delight more than they should in amusement and in jestingly and so even buffoons are called ready-witted because they are found attractive; but that they differ from the ready-witted man, and to no small extent, is clear from what has been said.” ---------- Ha! So Aristotle sees, in fact, how buffoonery can easily lapse into the social norm. Thus our challenge is how to retain our integrity when surrounded by slobs and buffoons.

“To the middle state belongs also tact; it is the mark of a tactful man to say and listen to such things as befit a good and well-bred man; for there are some things that it befits such a man to say and to hear by way of jest, and the well-bred man's jesting differs from that of a vulgar man, and the joking of an educated man from that of an uneducated.” ---------- Aristotle’s overarching observation on how the wisdom of the middle way between two extremes applies here – not good acting at either extreme, being a boor or being a buffoon. Unfortunately, speaking and otherwise communicating in a buffoonish or boorish way is in no way restricted to the uneducated or dull – I’ve witnessed numerous instances of buffoonery and boorishness among the highly educated and intellectually astute.

The entire Nicomachean Ethics is available online: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html

( )
  Glenn_Russell | Nov 13, 2018 |
It is somewhat abstract and doesn’t concern itself only with applications, but it would be a short life that *only* had time for the Encheiridion of Epictetus, (as noble as such a life would be), and the study is itself an aid to the work.
  smallself | Oct 4, 2018 |
This is one of the more important of Aristotle's works; and, for me, one of the more practical and interesting ones. Here, Aristotle's pedantry does seem to yield better results. In any discussion of ethics, one should investigate as many facets and hypotheticals that may possibly be relevant and appropriate. Aristotle, to his credit, does the subject justice; and even if I may not totally agree with him in all of his conclusions, overall, I think I can assent to much that is here.
Prior to Aristotle, and even after, many philosophical schools (the Stoics especially) oversimplified the subject of ethics and/or morals. Pleasure itself was often seen as an evil that should be eradicated root and branch. Aristotle holds that this trivializes the nature of pleasure and treats all pleasures the same way. For Aristotle, there are pleasures that are healthy and some that are unhealthy. The most healthy is the pleasure that comes from contemplation and intellectual pursuits. The most unhealthy are those that come from fleshly lusts. I am mostly in agreement with Aristotle here. I think Aristotle trivializes the nature of anger though and does not recognize that it can be as bad, if not worse, than other so-called lusts of the flesh. I think it would be hard to argue against the assertion that most violence stems from anger in some manner. So I personally (counter to Aristotle) would list anger as one of the worst of the fleshly dispositions when it is not controlled.
Aristotle sees moderation as the key component of a healthy disposition. One needs to avoid extremes and find a happy medium. Indeed, Aristotle sees happiness as the goal of this moderation. One can only find this medium through a process of intellection. The mind must be actively engaged in the pursuit of ethics. Much of Aristotle's thought here presupposes a familiarity with his categories. So some acquaintance with Aristotle's logical works can help to understand Aristotle's approach to ethics.
The edition I read was from Dover and was translated by D. P. Chase. Chase left some important Greek terms untranslated, which I was very happy to see. He clarifies these Greek terms in the endnotes. His notes are incredibly illuminating; although, I am dissatisfied with the lack of proper footnoting. I would have rather that the Greek words, and other notable portions that are dealt with in the endnotes, were properly marked in the book so one could refer to the back as one reads. As it stands, I read the notes after I had finished the book. I encourage anyone who reads this edition to regularly refer to the endnotes while reading because they do offer some great insights into the text.
Nicomachean Ethics is definitely essential Aristotle and I do personally recommend it as a great philosophical work dealing with the subject of ethics. I personally feel that one can not approach this subject without love (agape/phileo) playing a more substantial role than it does for Aristotle, but one can certainly appreciate the insights Aristotle does offer regarding this subject. ( )
  Erick_M | Aug 27, 2018 |
The metaphors and language of this were difficult and if I hadn't been assigned this, I probably would not have slogged through it, but I'm glad I did. After parsing through and re-reading this, it's really quite brilliant, and simple. Of course I can't blame Aristotle too harshly, this is a transcription of student lecture notes, and then probably several translations later, it's what we read in English class, so the message does get through, it just takes a labyrinthine path to get there. ( )
2 vote Pepperwings | Jun 17, 2017 |
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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 (99 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aristotleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Apostle, Hippocrates G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ķemere, InāraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Broadie, SarahEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, LesleyEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chase, D. P.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, AntonyTypesettersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Griffith, TomEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knuuttila, SimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ostwald, MartinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peters, F. H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, HarrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ross, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rowe, C. J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Selina, TonyCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Smith, J. A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, J A KTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, J. A. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thomson, J. A. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Warrington, Johneditor and translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watt, StephenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zariņš, VilnisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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A vigorous polemicist as well as a rational philosopher, Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE) has the task in his ethics of demonstrating how men become good and why happiness can, and should, be our goal. The success of Aristotle's endeavour may be measured by the enormous impact of his ethics on Western moral philosophy through the centuries. represents an exacting, exciting challenge to the reader. By converting ethics from a theoretical to a practical science, and by introducing psychology into his study of behaviour, Aristotle both widens the field of moral philosophy and simultaneously makes it more accessible to anyone who seeks an understanding of human nature.… (more)

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