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The Nicomachean Ethics

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  20,457 ratings  ·  469 reviews
‘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 a
Paperback, 329 pages
Published March 30th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published -350)
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Steve Sckenda
Jan 13, 2015 Steve Sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Steve by: Great Books
The ideas which Aristotle proclaimed in “The Nicomachean Ethics,” 322 BCE, helped to shape the common moral consciousness and gave us the celebrated concept of the Golden Mean. Aristotle defined virtue as “habitual moderation,” that is to say, the habitual avoidance of extreme modes of conduct.

Extremes are always evil, says Aristotle, while virtue is a mean between two extremes. Courage is a virtue between the two extremes of cowardice and recklessness; Friendliness between quarrelsomeness and
The Nicomachean Ethics is one of the greatest works of Aristotle, the famous philosopher who was really much more of a scientist than a philosopher. This is the book where he indulges in the discussion of happiness, virtue, ethics, politics, and really anything else describing the way in which human beings functioned together in the society of a Greek city-state of early Antiquity.

Especially in the field of politics, this work excels, and Aristotle puts forth a particularly interesting theory on
Aristotle doesn't satisfy your whole soul, just the logical side, but here he is quite thorough. The Nicomachean Ethics is his most important study of personal morality and the ends of human life. He does little more than search for and examine the "good." He examines the virtue and vices of man in all his faculties. He believes that the unexamined life is a life not worth living; happiness is the contemplation of the good and the carrying out of virtue with solid acts. Among this book's most ou ...more
This is a book worth rereading every few years. It is actually lecture notes by one of Aristotle’s students, as are most of the extant writings attributed to Aristotle. Not a work to be rushed through, the Ethics requires concentration and pondering, work that rewards the effort.

Aristotle begins by investigating what is good for man, proceeding to examine both moral and intellectual virtues. In each of these areas, he first defines his terms. Then he examines various virtues and vices such as co
John Doe
If you are going to walk, you may as well learn to walk in the proper way. If you are going to eat, you may as well learn the art of eating. Which one is the salad fork? Aristotle thinks we achieve happiness by learning the art of living. Our lives are a work of art, and we learn the technique of happiness.

It is true that we want a doctor that knows the art of surgery. And this makes make him a good surgeon. But being competent does not make you a good person.

I like the idea that ethics has to
Aristotle vs. Plato

Having just finished and enjoyed Plato's complete works, I find this book a bit annoying and uninspiring in comparison. Aristotle seems to take every opportunity to "correct" Plato, when in fact he is only attacking a strawman. His arguments, sometimes self-contradictory, often support and clarify Plato's ideas, albeit using his own terminology.

Aristotle seems to have great difficulty appreciating or understanding Plato’s abstractions (from species to genus, from the individua
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
عنوان: اخلاق نیکوماخوس؛ ارسطو؛ مترجم: صلاح الدین سلجوقی
Hend Mous'ad Muhammad
ابرز ما جاء فى الكتاب نظرية الوسط الأخلاقى لأرسطو، الذى أطلق عليه الوسط العادل القائم على تجنب الإفراط والتفريط، فإذا كانت خصائص الفضيلة هى التوسط، فإن خصائص الرذيلة هى الإفراط أو التفريط، ينطبق هذا على الأخلاق والسلوك والعادات، بل وعلى الجمال الحسى، ففضيلة كل شيء فى تحقيق الإعتدال، فالشجاعة متوسطة بين الخوف والتقحم، والسخاء وسط بين التبذير والتقتير، وقل مثل هذا فى الحلم والحياء وغير هذه من الأخلاق والإنفعالات والسلوك.
Forgive a long and direct quoting of my favourite passage:

"Benefactors are thought to love those whom they have benefited more than the beneficiaries love their benefactors... [m]ost people conclude that it is because the latter owe and the former are owed a debt... It may be thought, however, that the cause lies deeper in nature, and that the case of the lender is not even analagous. It is not affection that the lender feels, but a wish for the debtor's safety with a view to reimbursement; wher
Frank Della Torre

The Nicomachean Ethics represents Aristotle’s search for how to live the virtuous life. The treatise doesn’t search for an abstract virtue in itself (like Plato), but rather for how to achieve virtue in practice. This is a necessarily inexact, almost pragmatic enterprise, and Aristotle thinks we should approach it as such rather than pretending we’re discussing mathematical platitudes.

Aristotle thinks that all human activity chases some end that we consider good. The highest ends are those that
Aristote resserre dans un seul ouvrage une critique fraiche des thèses de Platon. Pas de grands effets rhétoriques, de mises en scène ingénieuse, d'habileté didactique, le discernement et la méthode prennent nettement le pas sur l'esprit. Les thèmes abordés sont moraux: le consentement, la décision, la justice, le plaisir, l'amitié, le bonheur, la vertu. La sécheresse du style accentue les risques d'erreurs d'interprétation, et peut être qu'un peu d'aisance et de grâce ne trahissent pas la clart ...more
The introduction goes through the word 'ethics' and how Aristotle meant something different - more about character.

Also by happiness he meant something different.

There exists an indeterminancy of translation: you can never have a perfect translation - but translations are to be judged by how closely they bring about the same sensations as the original work.

So I think the translation of this book is not bad, but misleading- and it'd be better to use the original Greek words for these complex idea
Russ Painter
I think society would have progressed much faster if it weren't for guys like Aristotle being looked up to as much. He was extremely arrogant, and was obviously very good at expressing his ideas. Too bad his ideas weren't always backed by scientific reasoning, and should have been challenged.

I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and bitch-slap him.
Therefore, the activity of the divinity which surpasses all others in bliss must be a contemplative activity, and the human activity which is most closely akin to it is, therefore, most conducive to happiness{…}So happiness is coextensive with study, and the greater the opportunity for studying, the greater the happiness, not as an incidental effect but as inherent in study; for study is in itself worthy of honor. Pg. 293.
Eudaimon, generally translated as “Happiness”, is the goal of Aristotle’
There's nothing I could possibly say about this book that hasn't already been said, and hasn't already been said better than I could articulate any point. The degree to which we have fallen from Aristotle's view of man is abominable. The need to which we ought to return to his view is dire, and necessary. Is man operating according to his function? No. Are we achieving excellence? Rarely. Who amongst us is virtuous, and who amongst us experiences eudaimonia? Few, if any. So long as the structure ...more
I have been picking away at this work for weeks now, and have decided that I have read enough to say I have the gist of Aristotle’s teaching on the subject. This is a stand-alone work, although it does presage “The Politics,” the summation of the same concerns for the State as this one does for the individual. As with many of the ancient philosophers, reading their writings is often a chore. It seems that they tend to repeat themselves over and over but us
I wanted goose bumps and didn’t get them. Aristotle's logic-bloated writing style is achingly tedious in a 'trying to run through wet cement nightmare' way. What he says (eventually) is of course important beyond measure but I kept having a Mona Lisa on a Cereal Box experience which is the phenomenon of feeling blasé, numb and maybe a little cheated when one finds oneself standing in front of the ORIGINAL that has been riffed on, torn up, dissected, and regurgitated in forms both heavenly and he ...more
One of the most important books I've ever read. Anyone who thinks Aristotle is extraordinarily difficult to read, check out this book. Nicomachean Ethics addresses the simple (or not so simple) question, "how should one live on this planet?" Although you probably won't agree with every assertion (I didn't), a reader can't help but grow around the astute framing of the relevant questions. I esp. love the last section on contemplation.
Simon A. Smith
I've got some elitist, pretentious bones in this here body of mine, and I don't pretend not to, but this text was too pompous and presumptuous even for my blood.

Hmmmm... ever notice how 'p' words tend to be used to express disdain for arrogance? I just noticed that my above review is a virtual thesaurus of p words meaning phony... or synonyms for pharisaic. Weird.
Aristotle’s main purpose in Nicomachean Ethics is to define what exactly constitutes virtue and, more generally, the good life.

To the modern reader, many of his arguments appear blatantly invalid (perhaps most troubling is that his account seems to rest on a possible tautology: a virtuous act is an act such that a virtuous man would do it). Furthermore, many of his beliefs are so grounded in 4th-century Greek thought as to make any modern day applications of his philosophy improbable.

Erik Graff
Oct 02, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aristotle fans
Recommended to Erik by: Shimer College
Shelves: philosophy
After being laid off from Loyola University Chicago I looked for work at other higher educational institutions. One of them, Shimer College, a "great books" school which my step-brother was attending, actually solicited my applications via the agencies of several of their staff. Pursuing this option, I made an effort to read all of the books in their curriculum which I hadn't yet studied. The Nicomachean Ethics was one such book.

Except for On Poetry, which did help me understand Greek tragedy, I
Yesterday's Muse Bookstore
While I respect Aristotle's contributions to philosophy, his work is not my favorite. He approaches philosophical thought in an extremely scientific way, providing precise definitions and following these through to their logical conclusions.

There are two reasons this does not work for me: 1) It is boring, and makes it difficult to reference the text because all the sections sound the same; 2) The definitions from which everything follows are seemingly picked out of thin air. They are stated as i
A classic of Western philosophy, the Nicomachean Ethics is amongst Aristotle's most important and influential works, an essential text from his own day to the dawn of the Enlightenment and enjoying a resurgence of popularity as a philosophical resource, and not simply an historical text, even today. Aristotle's lays out the fundamentals of his virtue ethic, a contextualist and holistic approach to ethical living that strives to cultivate internal states in search of the good.

Crisp's translation
Very interesting. This was my first real book that expounded a full ethical system. I certainly took a few things from it, but my biggest criticism would be that certain elements are impossible to account for. For example, the punishments for a crime were partly based on the "characters" of the victim and criminal. A man of low character insulting another man of low character was not nearly as serious as a man of low character insulting a man of high character. He also seemed to suggest that men ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
As translated and cited by Owen Flanagan in The Really Hard Problem:

"We should consider our discussion adequate insofar as we make things perspicuous enough as regrds our subject matter. We do not seek or expect the same degree of exactness in all sort of arguments (compare: mathematics, physics, history), just as we do not expect sameness in the products of different crafts (compare pressing coins, to knitting clothes)...In ethics and political science each of our generalizations ought to be un
Best (literal) translation of the Ethics, although difficult at times. I usually need a seperate easier to read edition to help me wade through Sachs's precise translation. Joe Sachs's introduction, footnotes, and glossery of terms are golden.

As far as the treatise itself is concerned...the book is its own best argument.
Naresh Neupane
The Nicomachean Ethics is a centerpiece of Aristotle's ideas of human teleological expressions, ethical principles, normative moral positions, and so on. The central thrust of this book is how happiness is the ultimate goal of life as well as how virtue is tied with such self-sufficiency of happiness. He believes that the precursor of happiness is virtue, and virtue can only be accessed through the proper use of faculty of reason. Hence, only human beings can be truly happy, unlike animals, that ...more
John Yelverton
The ancient philosophies of this writer should be read for the very fact that they have lasted this long.
Lamar Latrell
Seriously not my favorite.
a) What a horrible translation. Yes, it's probably partially due to the age, but it was also just not a very good translation. A lot of the syntax was just awkward. And I say that as someone who reads these older books frequently. The introduction was honestly better than the text, if only because it explained all of the salient points and wasn't bogged down by a troublesome translation.
b) So much filler and fluff. Oh my gosh. The endless explanations of the types of be
Alex Konrad
Aristotle, according to Dante, is "the master of those who know."

The master of those who know [that he is the master:]?
The master of those who [knew about him during the Renaissance period:]?

In The Nicomachean Ethics, going against the assumption of ancient philosophy that 'first there is the question,' Aristotle criticizes those who inquire into things, as well as inquiry itself, instead giving primacy to knowing. So, by this Dante meant, and I can only interpret it in a sarcastic way, that Ar
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  • Theaetetus
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • The Enneads
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Principles of Human Knowledge & Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonius
  • On Duties (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought)
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)

Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and wri
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“One swallow does not make a summer,
neither does one fine day;
similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” 292 likes
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