Somebody attracted to theories of ethical or human perform will locate in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics one of many few easy types proper via to this present day. on the centre of his research, either sober and wary, are such suggestions as happiness, advantage, selection, prudence, incontinence, excitement and friendship. Aristotle’s arguments are certainly not of simply historic curiosity, yet proceed to exert a key impression on present-day moral debate. The 13 contributions during this quantity current the rules of Aristotle’s research, besides the trendy historical past of its reception.
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A–b: second excursus on method. The difference between two kinds of philosophical study (arguing from or to first principles) is the basis for the partial thesis contained in the thesis of practical philosophy, that ethics is not suitable for young people; . , a–b: the third excursus on method reinforces the typô(i) character and supplements the indication as regards the study of principles; . e. “what is commonly said” about a question; . , b–a: the fourth excursus on method repeats the two points of view of the first; ethics as practical philosophy .
He then makes a statement that is often neglected and never (I think) given its full weight: “it makes no difference whether the activities themselves are the ends of the actions or something else apart from these, as in the case of the above-mentioned crafts” (a– ). He is clearly saying here that his point about the subordination of one activity to another has application not only where (as in his examples) the subordinate activity produces a product or outcome which the superior activity uses, but also where the subordinate activity has no such end apart from itself but is its own end.
Deals with things that generally happen in connection with deliberation (bouleusis or bouluesthai). Anyone who embarks on a deliberation combines the knowledge of being in a certain state (“these things are in my power and achievable”) with a critique of a “mechanical” application of rules laid down as pre-given recipes. Convinced that there are no secure ways and means to the end of happiness, no reliable recipes, he takes the trouble of a reflection that is both sensible and creative. Instead of blindly relying on certain rules, he seeks realizable possibilities of action and weighs up one against the others.