Ethics
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Ethics

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3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  16,264 ratings  ·  409 reviews
The Nicomachean Ethics is a name normally given to Aristotle's best known work on ethics. The English version of the title derives from Greek Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια, transliterated Ethika Nikomacheia, which is sometimes also given in the genitive form as Ἠθικῶν Νικομαχείων, Ethikōn Nikomacheiōn. The Latin translations are Ēthica Nicomachēa or De Moribus ad Nicomachum. The work,...more
Paperback, 383 pages
Published August 30th 1955 by Penguin Classics (first published -350)
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sckenda
Jan 12, 2014 sckenda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sckenda 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...more
Mandi
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
Nemo
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...more
Bruce
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...more
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...more
Gavin
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
...more
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.
CB
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
Andrew Anony
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...more
Shiverme
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
RandomAnthony
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.
Matt
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...more
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...more
Tony
THE NICOMACHEAN ETHICS. Aristotle. ****.
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...more
Matthew
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...more
Mark
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...more
Caleb
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.
Steven Walle
Aristotle compiled a grand treatis upon the ethics of virtues such as happiness, bravery, pleasure, courage to name a few. This is a very well thought out way for one to conducts one's life. I would recommend this book to all over the age of 12. It takes some hard study and much intraspection.
John Yelverton
The ancient philosophies of this writer should be read for the very fact that they have lasted this long.
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...more
Jared
Before I really go into this review, I want to note that it is a weird thing to give a classic like Aristotle's ethics a rating based on stars. Any book that has survived as long as Aristotle's Ethics automatically has the best rating applied to it "classic". An author can only hope and dream that their writing may reach such status.
When reviewing ancient writing I have to keep a couple different things in mind. One thing I must keep in mind is the translation. This translation seemed to be mor...more
Darran Mclaughlin
Aristotle's work on ethics is very practical and commonsensical. He draws his conclusions from his observations of how people actually lived around him rather than appealing to an external guarantor of ethical standards, like God. I think his advice is mostly very sound, like finding the golden mean between two extremes of behaviour, extolling the value of friendship and suggesting that people naturally live their lives to enjoy pleasure. Some of his ideas now look unacceptable to modern mores,...more
Joseph Sverker
This is no doubt an absolutely brilliantly argued book. But every knows that. It is not always easy to follow and it might have something to do with the somewhat high brow translation.

Hannah Arendt argues that Augustine was the first one to turn will against itself in contrast to Aristotle when it comes to ethics. And Luther's undrstanding of Aristotle was that Aristotelianism led to Pelagianism, salvation on your own. I think they are correct in their analysis, yet it was interesting to find ou...more
Yann
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
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...more
Rowland Bismark
As the successor of Socrates and Plato, Aristotle was the last of the great Greek philosophers. Philosophy first flourished in Greece sometime in the early sixth century b.c. as inquisitive thinkers began developing rational methods for investigating the mysteries of nature and mathematics. These pre-Socratic thinkers were as much scientists and mathematicians as they were philosophers.

While there is significant pre-Socratic influence in Aristotle’s work, primarily in the sciences and metaphysic...more
Tim
This book’s a difficult case. On one hand there’s the infamous defense of slavery and the statements on the inferiority of women, and parts of the book seem downright pedestrian. But a closer reading of Aristotle on slavery suggests he supported a rather different and probably far more limited form than was his society’s practice. (If this is correct, implementing this version would have likely caused a revolution in the ancient Greek socieo-economic system, quite possibly eliminating the class...more
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had a dream about this book 1 9 Jul 10, 2014 08:33PM  
  • Theaetetus
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy)
  • On the Good Life
  • Early Greek Philosophy
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • The Discourses
  • The Essential Epicurus (Great Books in Philosophy)
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  • The Consolation of Philosophy
  • Elements of the Philosophy of Right
2192
Aristotle (greek: Αριστοτέλης)(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 writer, Aristotle left a...more
More about Aristotle...
Politics Metaphysics Poetics De Anima (On the Soul) Physics

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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.”
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“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” 232 likes
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