The Nicomachean Ethics is very often abbreviated "NE", or "EN", and books and chapters are generally referred to by Roman and Arabic numerals, respectively, along with corresponding Bekker numbers.
References and Further Reading 1. Biography and History Aristotle's life was primarily that of a scholar. However, like the other ancient philosophers, it was not the stereotypical ivory tower existence. Clearly, Aristotle had significant firsthand experience with politics, though scholars disagree about how much influence, if any, this experience had on Aristotle's thought.
There is certainly no evidence that Alexander's subsequent career was much influenced by Aristotle's teaching, which is uniformly critical of war and conquest as goals for human beings and which praises the intellectual, contemplative lifestyle.
It is noteworthy that although Aristotle praises the politically active life, he spent most of his own life in Athens, where he was not a citizen and would not have been allowed to participate directly in politics although of course anyone who wrote as extensively and well about politics as Aristotle did was likely to be politically influential.
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As a scholar, Aristotle had a wide range of interests. He wrote about meteorology, biology, physics, poetry, logic, rhetoric, and politics and ethics, among other subjects.
His writings on many of these interests remained definitive for almost two millennia. They remained, and remain, so valuable in part because of the comprehensiveness of his efforts. For example, in order to understand political phenomena, he had his students collect information on the political organization and history of different cities.
The question of how these writings should be unified into a consistent whole if that is even possible is an open one and beyond the scope of this article. This article will not attempt to organize all of Aristotle's work into a coherent whole, but will draw on different texts as they are necessary to complete one version of Aristotle's view of politics.
The Texts The most important text for understanding Aristotle's political philosophy, not surprisingly, is the Politics. However, it is also important to read Nicomachean Ethics in order to fully understand Aristotle's political project.
This is because Aristotle believed that ethics and politics were closely linked, and that in fact the ethical and virtuous life is only available to someone who participates in politics, while moral education is the main purpose of the political community.
As he says in Nicomachean Ethics at b30, "The end [or goal] of politics is the best of ends; and the main concern of politics is to engender a certain character in the citizens and to make them good and disposed to perform noble actions.
We are likely to regard politics and politicians as aiming at ignoble, selfish ends, such as wealth and power, rather than the "best end", and many people regard the idea that politics is or should be primarily concerned with creating a particular moral character in citizens as a dangerous intrusion on individual freedom, in large part because we do not agree about what the "best end" is.
In fact, what people in Western societies generally ask from politics and the government is that they keep each of us safe from other people through the provision of police and military forces so that each of us can choose and pursue our own ends, whatever they may be.
This has been the case in Western political philosophy at least since John Locke. Development of individual character is left up to the individual, with help from family, religion, and other non-governmental institutions.
More will be said about this later, but the reader should keep in mind that this is an important way in which our political and ethical beliefs are not Aristotle's. The reader is also cautioned against immediately concluding from this that Ar istotle was wrong and we are right.
This may be so, but it is important to understand why, and the contrast between Aristotle's beliefs and ours can help to bring the strengths and weaknesses of our own beliefs into greater clarity. The reference above to "Nicomachean Ethics at b30" makes use of what is called Bekker pagination.
This refers to the location of beginning of the cited text in the edition of Aristotle's works produced by Immanuel Bekker in Berlin in in this case, it begins on pagecolumn b, line Scholars make use of this system for all of Aristotle's works except the Constitution of Athens which was not rediscovered until after and fragmentary works in order to be able to refer to the same point in Aristotle's work regardless of which edition, translation, or language they happen to be working with.
This entry will make use of the Bekker pagination system, and will also follow tradition and refer to Nicomachean Ethics as simply Ethics. There is also a Eudemian Ethics which is almost certainly by Aristotle and which shares three of the ten books of the Nicomachean Ethics and a work on ethics titled Magna Moralia which has been attributed to him but which most scholars now believe is not his work.
Regardless, most scholars believe that the Nicomachean Ethics is Aristotle's fullest and most mature expression of his ethical theory. The translation is that of Martin Ostwald; see the bibliography for full information.
Challenges of the Texts Any honest attempt to summarize and describe Aristotle's political philosophy must include an acknowledgment that there is no consensus on many of the most important aspects of that philosophy. Some of the reasons for this should be mentioned from the outset.
One set of reasons has to do with the text itself and the transmission of the text from Aristotle's time to ours. Aristotle did write for general audiences on these subjects, probably in dialogue form, but only a few fragments of those writings remain.
This is also one reason why many students have difficulty reading his work: Many topics in the texts are discussed less fully than we would like, and many things are ambiguous which we wish were more straightforward.
But if Aristotle was lecturing from these writings, he could have taken care of these problems on the fly as he lectured, since presumably he knew what he meant, or he could have responded to requests for clarification or elaboration from his students.
Secondly, most people who read Aristotle are not reading him in the original Attic Greek but are instead reading translations. This leads to further disagreement, because different authors translate Aristotle differently, and the way in which a particular word is translated can be very significant for the text as a whole.
There is no way to definitively settle the question of what Aristotle "really meant to say" in using a particular word or phrase. Third, the Aristotelian texts we have are not the originals, but copies, and every time a text gets copied errors creep in words, sentences, or paragraphs can get left out, words can be changed into new words, and so forth.
It may be clear from the context that a word has been changed, but then again it may not, and there is always hesitation in changing the text as we have it.In The Pursuit of Happiness - Individuals try to find happiness, but like water or air, it is hard to clench in your hands. As defined in Merriam-Webster (), happiness is a state of well-being and contentment.
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Today, human beings tend to think of happiness as a natural right. But they haven’t always felt . Aristotle ( B. C.) is the most significant thinker and the most accomplished individual who has ever lived.
Every person currently living in Western civilization owes an enormous debt to Aristotle who is the fountainhead behind every achievement of science, technology, political .
How Aristotle is the perfect happiness guru Happiness is not a state as far as Aristotle is concerned, it’s an activity, says Professor Edith Hall, and you just have to decide to become happier.
When Thomas Jefferson placed "the pursuit of happiness" along with life and liberty in The Declaration of Independence he was most likely referring to Aristotle's concept of happiness, or eudaimonia.
Tom Mullen. Author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness?