Harry V. Jaffa
Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethicsby Aristotle
The Nicomachean Ethics is one of Aristotle’s most widely read and influential works. Ideas central to ethics—that happiness is the end of human endeavor, that moral virtue is formed through action and habituation, and that good action requires prudence—found their most powerful proponent in the person medieval scholars simply called/i>… See more details below
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The Nicomachean Ethics is one of Aristotle’s most widely read and influential works. Ideas central to ethics—that happiness is the end of human endeavor, that moral virtue is formed through action and habituation, and that good action requires prudence—found their most powerful proponent in the person medieval scholars simply called “the Philosopher.” Drawing on their intimate knowledge of Aristotle’s thought, Robert C. Bartlett and Susan D. Collins have produced here an English-language translation of the Ethics that is as remarkably faithful to the original as it is graceful in its rendering.
Aristotle is well known for the precision with which he chooses his words, and in this elegant translation his work has found its ideal match. Bartlett and Collins provide copious notes and a glossary providing context and further explanation for students, as well as an introduction and a substantial interpretive essay that sketch central arguments of the work and the seminal place of Aristotle’s Ethics in his political philosophy as a whole.
The Nicomachean Ethics has engaged the serious interest of readers across centuries and civilizations—of peoples ancient, medieval, and modern; pagan, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish—and this new edition will take its place as the standard English-language translation.
“This is the only English translation of the Ethics for those who want or need to know precisely, not just roughly, what Aristotle says. Readers now can behold the splendor of his conception of moral virtue and engage with its subtleties as well. The translation is accompanied by excellent notes, an interpretive essay, indices, and a highly useful glossary.”
“There are several good editions of the Nicomachean Ethics currently available, but the Bartlett and Collins version is superior in several decisive respects—philological, philosophical, and pedagogical. The translation itself is consistently faithful to the text without lapsing into obscurity or awkwardness, with lots of helpful discussion (in just the right number of notes conveniently placed at the bottom of the page) of alternative possibilities at key points. Best of all, the thoughtful and well-crafted surrounding material—notes, glossary, introduction, and interpretive essay—supplies a marvelous guide to Aristotle’s unique way of presenting the central questions of ethics and politics. This is the version I will use when next I teach the Nicomachean Ethics.”
“This translation will easily be the best available English version of the Nicomachean Ethics.”
“Bartlett and Collins’s translation of the Nicomachean Ethics is the best in English that I have read. It nicely couples a consistent faithfulness to Aristotle’s Greek with a high degree of readability. This will be a real service to scholars and students.”
“[A] readable, careful, and unusually reliable translation.”
"Sachs’s translations of Aristotle are truly exemplary. They combine a rare sensitivity to Aristotle’s use of the Greek language with an English style that is straightforward and imaginative. But what makes Sachs’s translations even more noteworthy is their attunement to the thought that is indicated by Aristotle’s words, an attunement born of a profound awareness of the untranslatability of this thought into modern philosophical concepts. For anyone seriously interested in Aristotle’s philosophy, Sachs’s translations are indispensable."
—Burt Hopkins, Seattle University
"Sachs’s translations are unequaled in making accessible to Greekless readers an Aristotle undistorted by the influence of Latin. In addition, his helpful glossaries not only explain his own translational choices, but also inform readers of common alternatives, thereby enabling them to cope with the secondary literature. His are my translations of choice, for both introductory and advanced courses."
—Alan White, Williams College
- University of Chicago Press
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Read an Excerpt
Chapter 1. Every art and every inquiry, and likewise every action and choice, seems to aim at some good, and hence it has been beautifully said that the good is that at which all things aim. But a certain difference is apparent among ends, since some are ways of being at work, while others are certain kinds of works produced, over and above the being-at-work. And in those cases in which there are ends of any kind beyond the actions, the works produced are by nature better things than the activities. And since there are many actions and arts and kinds of knowledge, the ends also turn out to be many: of medical knowledge the end is health, of shipbuilding skill it is a boat, of strategic art it is victory, of household management it is wealth. But in as many such pursuits as are under some one capacity—in the way that bridle making and all the other skills involved with implements pertaining to horses come under horsemanship, while this and every action pertaining to war come under strategic art, and in the same way other pursuits are under other capacities—in all of them the ends of all the master arts are more worthy of choice than are the ends of the pursuits that come under them, since these latter are pursued for the sake of those arts. And it makes no difference whether the ends of the actions are the ways of being at work themselves, or something else beyond these, as they are with the kinds of knowledge mentioned.
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