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The Nicomachean Ethics

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  22,745 Ratings  ·  562 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 January 29th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published -350)
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Mary This is a translation into English, so it is not in Greek. The original was written in classic, and now archaic, Greek.

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Glenn Russell
Dec 12, 2015 Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing

Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle postulates the highest human good is eudaimonia or what is loosely translated into English as happiness. And a substantial component in the path to such human happiness is acting with the appropriate virtues over the course of an entire lifetime. The details of these Aristotelean teachings form the Nicomachean Ethics, one of the most influential works in the entire history of Western Civilization.

As a way of sharing but a small example of Aristotle’s extensiv
Apr 11, 2017 Trevor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, education
I’m a bit annoyed – I wrote up my review to this last night and thought I’d posted it, but it seems to have gone to god…not happy about that (amusingly enough). This is my reconstruction of last night’s review.

There is a story that is almost certainly apocryphal about a French woman (in the version I know, this is Madame De Gaulle) who is in England towards the end of her husband’s career and is asked at some sort of official function what she wants most from life. She answers, ‘a penis’ – which
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
Oct 08, 2008 Mandi rated it it was amazing
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
May 18, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brad Lyerla
Nov 18, 2013 Brad Lyerla rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Happiness is the activity of a rational soul in accordance with virtue, writes Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics. Activity means living. Rational soul means a human being. And virtue means human excellence. So happiness means a human living excellently.

How does one live excellently? One learns to be good at the things that are human and these are called "virtues". Aristotle discusses many virtues, but four are primary: courage, temperance, justice and practical wisdom. Courage is how we deal
Sep 24, 2010 Nemo rated it liked it
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
John Doe
Dec 26, 2011 John Doe rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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
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.
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
عنوان: اخلاق نیکوماخوس؛ ارسطو؛ مترجم: صلاح الدین سلجوقی
Jul 23, 2011 Yann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 19, 2013 C rated it it was amazing
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
Cassandra Kay Silva
I actually read this previously within the larger context of an extended work, but I decided to revisit it because I felt that some of the ethical pondering in this work matched up with some life incidents that I was trying to review. I know that reviewing your life based on ancient literature is not the norm but I felt that this was more pertinent to my life than most of the more modern literature available. I don't know how to explain this. Its like asking why Marcus Arrelius is on my bedside ...more
Frankie Della Torre
Oct 10, 2014 Frankie Della Torre rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy

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
Apr 29, 2011 Gavin rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2014 Andrew rated it it was amazing
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
Rita Poças
Oct 10, 2015 Rita Poças rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Leiam todos.
Não é dificil de ler, mesmo quem não está a par de alguns conceitos consegue perceber perfeitamente. Aconselho a tradução de António de Castro Caeiro, da editora Quetzal: as notas são muito boas e ajudam a entender alguns aspetos.
Aborda a felicidade - que é uma atividade e não uma disposição - de uma forma muito interessante, sendo esta a finalidade do ser Humano e, como se basta em si própria, devemos praticas atos nobres e sérios, porque existem por si próprios e não são meios pa
Jan 01, 2008 RandomAnthony rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 20, 2016 Warfawek rated it it was amazing
Just recently I found this book is greatly quotable to ward yourself from wearysome complains from people hazed by their deceitful lovers and false friends.
Apr 24, 2017 Nora rated it liked it
roten til alt vondt i livet mitt akkurat nå egentlig
James Klagge
Apr 06, 2016 James Klagge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
I just read the new CDC Reeve translation, published in 2014 by Hackett. It was fine. But I am reviewing the book itself, which has been translated into English several dozen times.
I first read Aristotle's Ethics in the first semester of college, in my History of Philosophy class, in 1972. I first taught it when I taught a summer school class at UCLA in 1981. And I have taught it about 20 more times over the years, in Greek Culture classes, Ethics classes, Greek Philosophy classes, and graduate
Jun 06, 2010 Matt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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’s
Jun 04, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
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
Dec 25, 2011 kaelan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 03, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  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
Apr 24, 2010 Yesterday's Muse Bookstore rated it it was ok
Shelves: philosophy
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
Jan 02, 2011 S. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: u-of-c
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
Marcus Chatman
Mar 15, 2016 Marcus Chatman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start this review by stating that Aristotle has always been my go to guy for insight in regards to how things really are. Aristotle became one of my favorite philosophers after the first time I read about him. Aristotle to me is the ultimate point man, he's the ultimate right hand man! This guy's intellect is outstanding! Aristotle's insight is truly one of a kind...well,(scratches the noggin) I should say two, three, four, five of a kind because this guy is so versatile in his thinking t ...more
Dec 30, 2015 Borum rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I personally liked this book better than the Politics. I don't put the happiness of the society before the happiness of the individual, although I do see why Aristotle may have put more importance on man's existence as a political animal. I find the discussion a bit digressive at times, but after re-reading it I appreciate Aristotle's thouroughness. I wished I had read this book before reading Politics and I went back to reading the Politics again! I read both books twice and after I read Yuval ...more
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  • Gorgias
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Summa Theologica, 5 Vols
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • The Ethics/Treatise on the Emendation of the Intellect/Selected Letters
  • Principia Ethica (Philosophical Classics)
  • Plato I: Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus. (Loeb Classical Library, #36)
(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)

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-antiquaria
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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.” 353 likes
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