Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Nicomachean Ethics” as Want to Read:
The Nicomachean Ethics
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Nicomachean Ethics

by
3.95  ·  Rating details ·  33,653 ratings  ·  966 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
...more
Paperback, 329 pages
Published January 29th 2004 by Penguin Classics (first published -340)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Nicomachean Ethics, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Reza Samadian Aristotle repeatedly defines happiness as "contemplative" activity in life in different parts of his writing. It is also pointed out in book I (or II)…moreAristotle repeatedly defines happiness as "contemplative" activity in life in different parts of his writing. It is also pointed out in book I (or II) that the activity needs to be ongoing and it is not a one-off thing. (less)
Mary This is a translation into English, so it is not in Greek. The original was written in classic, and now archaic, Greek.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  33,653 ratings  ·  966 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Nicomachean Ethics
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle
The Nicomachean Ethics is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics. The work, which plays a pre-eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title is often assumed to refer to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it (although his young age makes this less likely). Alternative
...more
Glenn Russell
Dec 12, 2015 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
...more
Trevor
Apr 11, 2017 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
...more
Bradley
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This re-read was perhaps a slight bit superfluous. I remembered reading it way back in high school - on my own - just because I was that kind of geek.

Get the foundations read, kid! Know what the whole line of thought is all about! Use it later to trounce your fellow debaters!

Yeah, whatever. Logic and an examined life have since then been more of an end rather than a means.

Case in point: This is about examining Happiness. It does so in a fairly exhaustive but not exhausting way. Aristotle just l
...more
Fergus
Sep 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was young I had an idée fixe - an obsession.

Oh, it’s easy to be like that if you were brought up in 1950’s Mainstream Christianity, or later, if - like Cherilyn’s Dad in the amazing new Chasing Eden - you were influenced at some point or another, by a fundamentalist splinter group.

Then you might have had the idée fixe of a retributive God - a PUNISHING God.

And, though my choice was always mainstream theology, when my life went into a tailspin it was ALL BECAUSE OF THIS IDEA. Because we a
...more
Brad Lyerla
Nov 18, 2013 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
...more
Markus
Nov 04, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ancient, philosophy, 2014
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
...more
Mandi
Oct 08, 2008 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
Amy
November 20, 2019 - 5 stars
Aiiiiiii, look at me re-reading books in the same year. Definitely did not expect to be go back to this one so soon but glad I did. Context does amazing things for your understanding. Read this one as part of class instead of just 'cause and gained so much more out of it.

January 31st, 2019 Review - 4 stars
Dry but thought-provoking. Obviously, it is hard to rate someone like Aristotle. For the way it shaped Western thought, Ethics easily deserves 5 stars. Yet it also
...more
Bruce
May 18, 2011 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
...more
Jasmine
"One lesson of our age is that barbarism persists under the surface, and that the virtues of civilized life are less deeply rooted than used to be supposed. The world is not too richly endowed with examples of perseverance and subtlety in analysis, of moderation and sanity in the study of human affairs. It will be a great loss if the thinker who, above all others, displays these qualities, is ever totally forgotten."

D.J. Allan, author of The Philosophy of Aristotle, (Oxford 1952) about Aristotl
...more
Nemo
Sep 24, 2010 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
...more
Elie F
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is rare that a philosophical book about ethics can be so investigation-based and have so much common sense in it.
Paul
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an impressive book that it's honestly hard to do it justice. The philosophical distinctions that Aristotle introduces here -- the three types of friendship, hexis as the key to understanding moral action, the vice/virtue distinction, the spoudaios, etc. etc. -- are impressive enough on their own that any one of them could be the basis of an entire philosophical school in any century.

But when you realize that Aristotle was literally the first writer in the Greek tradition to deeply consider
...more
Cphe
I dare say that if I ever come to read this again I would no doubt rate it higher than I have done here. Also if you are looking at this particular book then you already have an inkling as to it's purpose and what it is about. I'm no scholar, not by a long shot but found that a disciplined approach helped because it is a dense read. I read this as part of a group read and looking back it is the only way that I could have tackled this.

On reflection I couldn't say that I read Aristotle's Nicomach
...more
C
Feb 19, 2013 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
Giovanni Generoso
Oct 10, 2014 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
...more
Christopher (Donut)
Reading a book a week with a Goodreads group (the Ethica Nicomachea (EN) is divided into ten books), by the end I was exhausted, and took a long break before reading the Interpretive Essay, which, when I did sit down and read, I thought did an excellent job of pointing out some of Aristotle's complexities.

So, I don't give it five stars because I loved it from cover to cover, or would start reading it again tomorrow, or any time, but five stars because it is the kind of book that would reward a l
...more
Crito
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, favorites
This is an excellent edition if you really want to dig your teeth into Aristotle, Sarah Broadie's near line by line commentary is great. The translation is technical and might not appeal to you if the idea of an even drier Aristotle makes you wretch, but it at least makes things less ambiguous. You could always read a different one in tandem because the commentary is really the star of this one.
Daniel Wright
The chief problem with approaching Aristotle is that he is dry. This is not just because wrote many years ago, and everything written in such a different intellectual climate will seem difficult (no modern reader will identify with many things he takes for granted). He is simply a dry and unadorned writer, and any translation will inevitable convey this quite frankly.

All the same, it is difficult to express how influential he has been - and his ethics in particular. All the Christian theologians
...more
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
This one’s for smarter people than I to figure out. It’s entirely possible the convoluted sentences that gave me so many headaches were the fault of the translation; I thought it was a tangled, muddy mess with flashes of occasional brilliance and clarity—Aristotle shining through?—but I appreciate the practicality of the philosophy laid out here.

“Hence we ought to examine what has been said by applying it to what we do and how we live; and if it harmonises with what we do, we should accept it,
...more
Xander
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aristotle’s ethics spans three works: Ethica Nicomachea, Ethica Eudemia and Politica. The first two are works that are focused solely on ethics, and share three exactly similar books. Also, the subject is quite similar, although there are differences in the way Aristotle deals with these subjects. Nevertheless, the common opinion among scholars seems to be that to understand Aristotle’s ethics is to read Ethica Nicomachea. The Politica is quite another subject: at the end of the mentioned Ethica ...more
Phil
Nov 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
There has been, in recent years, a marked return to Aristotle among English-language ethical theorists. This return signals a revolt against the post-Kantian tradition that has dominated Anglo-American ethical thought since the 19th Century at least. Such prominent thinkers as Hubert Dreyfus, Alasdair MacIntyre, John McDowell, Martha Nussbaum, Bernard Williams have looked to Aristotle to circumvent the questions of justification abstract norms of justice that preoccupied thinkers of the early-to ...more
Czarny Pies
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who want to know about Aristotle.
I read a French translation by Jules Barthélémy Saint-Hilaiire which set me solidly against this work. The problem was not Saint-Hilaire's rendering of Aristotle's text, rather it was his preface in which he attacked the work savagely. Saint-Hilaire's chief objection was that Aristotle reduced the issue of ethics to the mere question of personal happiness or living the good life. In Saint-Hilaire's opinion Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics" ("Morale à Nicomaque") was vastly inferior to what could ...more
Gavin
Apr 29, 2011 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
...more
Alan Johnson
I finished this Bartlett-Collins translation of Aristotle's monumental Nicomachean Ethics today. I read Books 1 and 2 in the hardcover edition and the remainder in the Kindle edition (which is easier on my eyes). In 1969, I read the entirety of the David Ross translation of this treatise. I reread a substantial portion of that translation in 1996. (I also read portions of the Martin Ostwald translation in 1965). It is a difficult and complex work of art. To the extent I understand (or think I un ...more
Andrew
May 19, 2014 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
...more
Thomas
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aristotle's most polished book is still a diamond in the rough, and the student must still be the one to smooth the edges. It's not an easy task, but a worthy one, if only to admire the precision of his thinking.

Aristotle is a scientist in style and personality, which raises a serious question right at the outset: "Is human happiness a science?" He seems to say that it is not, but then he proceeds with a scientific analysis, because as a scientist he has no alternative. It is a curious exercise
...more
Markus
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm way too dumb for this
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Being Good: Book 2 2 1 Mar 04, 2020 05:52PM  
Being Good: Book 1 4 2 Mar 03, 2020 04:05PM  
Being Good: Book 10 1 1 Feb 18, 2020 08:03PM  
Being Good: Book 9 1 1 Feb 18, 2020 08:01PM  
Being Good: Book 8 1 2 Feb 18, 2020 08:00PM  
Being Good: Book 7 1 1 Feb 18, 2020 07:58PM  
Being Good: Book 6 1 1 Feb 18, 2020 07:56PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Republic
  • Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals
  • The Symposium
  • Utilitarianism
  • Critique of Pure Reason
  • Leviathan
  • A History of Western Philosophy
  • Five Dialogues: Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo
  • Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy
  • The Trial and Death of Socrates (Euthyphro, Apology, Crito, Phaedo (death scene only))
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • Theaetetus
  • An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
  • Apology
  • Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Meditations
  • Meno
  • The Social Contract
See similar books…
3,227 followers
(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)
(Ukrainian: Арістотель)
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)
(Italian: Aristotele)


Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) 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 thro
...more

News & Interviews

Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team sorts throug...
16 likes · 5 comments
“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.” 525 likes
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” 434 likes
More quotes…