In Pursuit of the Good: Intellect and Action in Aristotle's Ethics

In Pursuit of the Good: Intellect and Action in Aristotle's Ethics

by Eric Salem

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Overview

"Where does happiness lie?" "What is the best life?" Aristotle ponders these abiding questions in his Nicomachean Ethics —a work which has profoundly influenced Western thinking on ethical matters. A book of apparent obviousness, the Ethics possesses a depth and complexity that a reader at first may overlook or not grasp. In his study, In Pursuit of the Good , Eric Salem guides and deepens the reader's understanding of Aristotle’s masterpiece, thus helping him to decide what the Good Life should be.

The choice for Aristotle is between the life of action and the life of contemplation. Salem writes that for Aristotle:

Happiness does not lie in the enjoyment of bodily pleasures, in the "childish amusement" so prized by most men, including "those in power." Nor does it lie in the exercise of the moral virtues; although Aristotle is careful to say that the happy man will practice the moral virtues as occasion dictates, the life of action is not, it seems, the happy life. Happiness rather lies in contemplation, in knowing, in "seeing" for its own sake; happiness is the activity of the intellect in accordance with wisdom.

Eric Salem has taught at St. John's College in Annapolis since 1990. He collaborated with Peter Kalkavage and Eva Brann on translations of Plato's Sophist and Phaedo. They are currently working on the Statesman.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781589880504
Publisher: Dry, Paul Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 02/01/2010
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Eric Salem has been teaching at St. John's College in Annapolis since 1990. He has collaborated with Peter Kalkavage and Eva Brann on translations of Plato's Sophist and Phaedo. They are currently working on the Statesman.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

1 Happiness 11

I Complete Virtue and a Complete Life 13

II Pleasure and Virtue 20

III Virtue and Reason 25

IV Activity 34

V Conclusion 45

2 Magnanimity and Justice 49

I Magnanimity 57

II Justice 71

III Conclusion 82

3 Prudence and Wisdom 85

I The Objects of Thought 91

II Sophia 96

III Phron&ebar;sis 102

A Poi&ebar;sis and Praxis 102

B Universals and Particulars 103

C The Kinds of Phron&ebar;sis 111

IV Sophia and Phron&ebar;sis 117

4 Friendship and Happiness 124

I Happiness 126

II Friendship 137

A The Problem of Honor Revisited 137

B Mothers and Benefactors 140

C Beneficence and Complete Virtue 145

III The Kinship Between The&obar;ria and Praxis 149

A The Potential Philosopher 150

B The Ethical Man 152

C The Philosopher as Benefactor 158

D The&obar;ria and Praxis in the Ethics 160

A Brief Bibliography 165

Notes 169

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