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The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Previously published as Ethics, Aristotle's The Nicomachean Ethics addresses the question of how to live well, and originates the concept of cultivating a virtuous character as the basis of his ethical system. This Penguin Classics edition is translated from the Greek by J.A.K. Thomson with revisions and notes by Hugh Tredennick, and an introduction and bibliography by Jonathan Barnes. 'One swallow does not make a summer; neither does one day. Similarly neither can one day, or a brief space of time, make a man blessed and happy' In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sets out to examine the nature of happiness. He argues that happiness consists in 'activity of the soul in accordance with virtue', for example with moral virtues, such as courage, generosity and justice, and intellectual virtues, such as knowledge, wisdom and insight. The Ethics also discusses the nature of practical reasoning, the value and the objects of pleasure, the different forms of friendship, and the relationship between individual virtue, society and the State. Aristotle's work has had a profound and lasting influence on all subsequent Western thought about ethical matters. Aristotle (384-22 BC) studied at the Academy of Plato for 20 years and then established his own school and research institute, 'The Lyceum'. His writings, which were of extraordinary range, profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy and are still eagerly studied and debated by philosophers today. If you enjoyed The Nicomachean Ethics, you might like Plato's The Symposium, also available in Penguin Classics.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140449495
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 03/30/2004
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 97,866
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Aristotle was born in 384BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens at the Academy of Plato, on whose death in 347 he left, and some time later became tutor to Alexander the Great. On Alexander's succession to the throne of Macedonia in 336, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his school and research institute, the Lyceum. After Alexander's death he was driven out of Athens and fled to Chalcis in Euboea where he died in 322. His writings profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy.

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Nicomachean Ethics 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
ChelseaBaines More than 1 year ago
Aristotle lays down the foundations for life and mans purpose. He asserts that the supreme good, or highest goal for man, is happiness. A happiness that consists of a rich and fulfilling life focused on virtuous behavior rather than pleasure. He concludes that man should fulfill his rationality through contemplation and moral education to reach this goal. A major theme in this book is Aristotle's rejection of Plato's Theory of the Forms. He argues that learning should be empirical (derived from what can be experienced and observed) and not based on overcoming reality. Another theme is the criticism of Hedonism (which was the philosophy of the time) which said, "Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die." Aristotle argued that true happiness or "eudaimonia" comes from living a full, rich, and virtuous life, not from pleasure. I like how Aristotle confronted Hedonism and previous perceptions of happiness that ignore morality as a means of achieving pleasure. This is still a huge problem in our society, as many people are in search of bodily pleasures and ignore matters of the soul. I like the idea of the Golden Mean, that every virtue in excess or in deficiency can be a vice. I disliked how dry and hard to get through the book was, but it's understandable as much of Aristotle's work include the organization of his thoughts as they are being explained. I also strongly disagreed with his idea of incontinence (or indifference). I consider this a vice which is more than just bad, because although it may simply require passivity and not action, it is still a choice to refuse good when it is in one's power to give it, and this is an evil which is almost unforgivable. I recommend this book to everyone. Although some of the ideas may seem simple to us now that they have been accepted for hundreds of years, they are still remarkably complex for the time that they were written. The ideas about virtue, happiness, friendship, contemplation, and purpose are still relevant and valuable today.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ethics nowadays is so confused and grouped with 'morals' that few consider the difference. Those who do use the argument for Ethics to veer the rest towards their own views and so 'Ethics' as a set of conduct is constantly hijacked by the 'righteous' for their own purposes. It is great we still have Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics to remind us what it is all about. And this new translation is conscise, clear, up-to-date and with plenty of endnotes conferring with other valued translations of the past and current academic debates regarding it. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics shows us that conduct is a choice only the human animal with our ability to question and to reason can develop into a set of ethics that brings us with equilibrium with ourselves, our community and planet. Making us thus greater than the sum of our individual parts as one gestalt entity, and as part of a community of humans. It shows us our choices ought to be irrespective of fear of a hell or hope of a reward. It is choices we ought to develop into habits, into our ethics for our humanity alone. For the benefit to our interactions with our families, friends, community, society and planet at-large. With this in mind Aristotle proceeds then to clearly delineate, describe and quantify what these particular choices are that we develop normally but that should be actively and conscientiously sought out by us to make us better more wholesome human beings. Because if we are to live one life on this planet and nothing more, we should try and learn to be a positive part in it and of it. Thus become of value to ourselves, our community, our planet. It is always with great interest I seek these arguments and am in my 2nd read of this very rewarding book.
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