The Eudemian Ethics (Oxford World's Classics)
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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.
tool is a sort of inanimate slave: in Politics I.4, 1253b35 ff., Aristotle says that a slave is a living tool, but he goes on to add that if non-living tools could achieve the same purpose, there would be no need for slavery. ‘If every instrument could achieve its own work, obeying or anticipating the will of others, like the statues of Daedalus … if the shuttle could weave and the plectrum pluck the lyre in a similar manner, overseers would not need servants, nor masters slaves.’ So perhaps, in
But coercion by threat does not necessarily do so. A bad action I perform unwillingly to avoid a greater evil may still be something that I do voluntarily and am therefore responsible for. Finally, Aristotle introduces the notion of prohairesis, or purposive choice. Any action that is chosen by an agent is voluntary, but not every voluntary action is chosen. Many voluntary actions are performed on the spur of the moment, but for Aristotle an action is chosen only if it is performed as a result
internal principle of action is 5 always less offensive, and reasoning is such a principle. It is like making a comparison between injustice in the abstract and an unjust man. Each is in a sense worse: for a bad man will do ten thousand times as much evil as a brute. Softness and toughness, weakness and impetuosity 7. Earlier, we delimited the sphere of intemperance and temperance to the pleasures and pains of touch and taste and the corresponding 10 desires and aversions. There are two
claims recompense for having done a great service to a friend in need, or something of the sort, holding forth thus about the value of the benefit to the recipient, while saying nothing about what it meant to himself. The other party, on the contrary, speaks of what it cost the donor, and not about its value to himself. Sometimes the position is reversed: the beneficiary turns round 25 and says how little he got out of the exchange while the donor insists on how much it cost him. Suppose that
capability: Aristotle’s word technē covers arts such as architecture, crafts such as shoemaking, and skills such as oratory. For many centuries the English word ‘art’ had a similar broad coverage, and I retain this traditional translation even though in certain contexts it sounds archaic. Arts are reasoned capacities in the sense that they can be taught orally and there can be textbooks of them: they are not like keeping one’s balance on a bicycle. BOOK V, CHAPTER 5 wisdom: the Greek word