The Eudemian Ethics (Oxford World's Classics)

The Eudemian Ethics (Oxford World's Classics)

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 0199586438

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A major treatise on moral philosophy by Aristotle, this is the first time the Eudemian Ethics has been published in its entirety in any modern language. Equally important, the volume has been translated by Sir Anthony Kenny, one of Britain's most distinguished academics and philosophers, and a leading authority on Aristotle. In The Eudemian Ethics, Aristotle explores the factors that make life worth living. He considers the role of happiness, and what happiness consists of, and he analyzes various aspects that contribute to it: human agency, the relation between action and virtue, and the concept of virtue itself. Aristotle classifies and examines the various moral and intellectual virtues, and he considers the roles of friendship and pleasure in a life well lived. Kenny's superb translation is accompanied by a fine introduction, in which he highlights the similarities and differences between this book and the better-known Nicomachean Ethics, with which it holds three books in common. There are also many useful explanatory notes which clarify the arguments and allusions that Aristotle makes.




















remained cordial. Aristotle always acknowledged a great debt to Plato, whom on his death he described as the best and happiest of mortals ‘whom it is not right for evil men even to praise’. Already, however, during his period at the Academy, Aristotle began to distance himself from Plato’s most famous doctrine, the Theory of Ideas. In his surviving works Aristotle often takes issue with the theory. Sometimes he does so politely, as where, in the Nicomachean Ethics, he introduces a series of

impulse. (This is something we do not see in inanimate agents: a stone, even if you throw it upwards ten thousand times, will never do that except by force.) So let character be defined as a quality governed by the prescriptions of reason, which inheres 5 in that part of the soul which, although non-rational, is capable of obedience to reason.* We must say, then, what it is in the soul that makes our character traits to be of a particular kind. It is our capacities for emotion (our

may perform bad acts under coercion, but choice cannot be coerced. Again, it is because it is not easy to discern the character of a choice that we are forced to make 15 judgements of character based on people’s deeds. The exercise of virtue is more valuable, but the choice is more praiseworthy. All this follows from our assumptions, and also agrees with people’s perceptions. BOOK III � THE MORAL VIRTUES Courage 1. IN general terms it has been stated that the virtues are middle states,* and

1145a single virtue of wisdom is present, all virtues will be present. It is evident that even if wisdom were inactive, we would still have needed it, because it is the virtue of its own part of the soul, and it is clear, too, that no choice will be right without both wisdom and virtue. For the one makes one perform the acts leading to the end, and the other 5 the end.* But again, wisdom is not in authority over philosophical understanding or over the better part of the soul, any more than

ignorance. We never see this in other cases. Intemperance perverts knowledge of medicine or orthography, but the contrary of intemperance does not convert ignorance into knowledge, because it lacks an extra element. Virtue in total, however, is more powerful 30 than vice in this way: the just man can do whatever the unjust man can do, in the way that power ranges wider than impotence. So it is clear that in humans wisdom and good dispositions of the non-rational element go hand in hand.

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