Somebody drawn to theories of ethical or human perform will locate in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics one of many few uncomplicated types appropriate via to at the present time. on the centre of his research, either sober and wary, are such strategies as happiness, advantage, selection, prudence, incontinence, excitement and friendship. Aristotle’s arguments are certainly not of basically ancient curiosity, yet proceed to exert a key impact on present-day moral debate. The 13 contributions during this quantity current the principles of Aristotle’s research, in addition to the trendy heritage of its reception.
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Extra info for Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
His practical philosophy is not, as Teichmüller () believed in the nineteenth century, a work of “practical reason”, phrônesis. (On the controversies of that time, and some later ones, cf. Höffe , ch. ) The second excursus on method tells against this view, as here Aristotle explicitly makes the claim of a study of principles. ). , a–b). Aristotle applies the same distinction in the theoretical disciplines (cf. ). And the two things, both practical and theoretical philosophy, make use in the first instance of the ascending study of principles, beginning with “things evident to us” and moving from there towards what is “known in itself ”, the principles.
One way of answering the two questions brings them into close connection. For if Aristotle really holds, in the end, that it is contemplation (theôria) that is eudaimonia, a possible or even inevitable answer to the first question is that right actions are right precisely in virtue of their making possible or in some way promoting theôria, and that the states of character commendable as virtues or excellences are so commendable because they are states that favor the one ultimately worthwhile state and activity, the state of theoretical wisdom (sophia) and the activity of theôria.
Thus the basic concepts of ethics—happiness, the moral virtues (particularly here that of justice), and friendship—likewise play a major role in politics. Conversely, these moral virtues—irrespective of their anchorage in the character of the individual—have their basis in the life of the polis, and its laws should foster the good life (cf. ). Moreover, otfried höffe happiness can be realized in the bios politikos, the (moral) / political life. On the other hand, there is a clear division of labour between the two disciplines; and in this respect Aristotle distances himself from Plato, who in the Republic integrated the whole of ethics into politics: whereas Aristotle develops the basic normative concepts in ethics, and to this extent gives it superiority, on the other hand this deals with the personal conditions that help the individual to happiness, and leaves Politics with the investigation of institutions and constitutions, including the conditions of political stability and political decline.