The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

 
List Price: $0.99

Our Price: $0.99

You Save:

 


Product Description

Translated by W. D. Ross

This is an electronic edition of the complete book complemented by author biography. This book features the table of contents linked to every book. The book was designed for optimal navigation on the Kindle, PDA, Smartphone, and other electronic readers. It is formatted to display on all electronic devices including the Kindle, Smartphones and other Mobile Devices with a small display.

******************

Nicomachean Ethics (sometimes spelled "Nichomachean"), or Ta Ethika, is a work by Aristotle on virtue and moral character which plays a prominent role in defining Aristotelian ethics. It consists of ten books based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum and were either edited by or dedicated to Aristotle's son, Nicomachus.

Nicomachean Ethics focuses on the importance of habitually behaving virtuously and developing a virtuous character. Aristotle emphasized the importance of context to ethical behavior, and the ability of the virtuous person to recognize the best course of action. Aristotle argued that eudaimonia is the goal of life, and that a person's pursuit of eudaimonia, rightly conceived, will result in virtuous conduct.

- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

More e-Books from MobileReference - Best Books. Best Price. Best Search and Navigation (TM)

All fiction books are only $0.99. All collections are only $5.99
Designed for optimal navigation on Kindle and other electronic devices

Search for any title: enter mobi (shortened MobileReference) and a keyword; for example: mobi Shakespeare
To view all books, click on the MobileReference link next to a book title

Literary Classics: Over 10,000 complete works by Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Mark Twain, Conan Doyle, Jules Verne, Dickens, Tolstoy, and other authors. All books feature hyperlinked table of contents, footnotes, and author biography. Books are also available as collections, organized by an author. Collections simplify book access through categorical, alphabetical, and chronological indexes. They offer lower price, convenience of one-time download, and reduce clutter of titles in your digital library.

Religion: The Illustrated King James Bible, American Standard Bible, World English Bible (Modern Translation), Mormon Church's Sacred Texts

Philosophy: Rousseau, Spinoza, Plato, Aristotle, Marx, Engels

Travel Guides and Phrasebooks for All Major Cities: New York, Paris, London, Rome, Venice, Prague, Beijing, Greece

Medical Study Guides: Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology, Abbreviations and Terminology, Human Nervous System, Biochemistry

College Study Guides: FREE Weight and Measures, Physics, Math, Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Statistics, Languages, Philosophy, Psychology, Mythology

History: Art History, American Presidents, U.S. History, Encyclopedias of Roman Empire, Ancient Egypt

Health: Acupressure Guide, First Aid Guide, Art of Love, Cookbook, Cocktails, Astrology

Reference: The World's Biggest Mobile Encyclopedia; CIA World Factbook, Illustrated Encyclopedias of Birds, Mammals

Customer Reviews:

  • Excellent insights into human nature
    Terence Irwin is to be thanked and congratulated for translating a difficult work by Aristotle and for providing over one hundred pages of notes that helps the student to understand and appreciate Aristotle's classic work on Ethics.

    Irwin's notes are thorough and allow a person to study the Ethics without a professor. Most of us, however, need a teacher when it is time to read Aristotle. And a teacher who uses Irwin's translation will be greatly appreciated by students. I become convinced of this each semester since my college Ethics class is centered on Aristotle's Ethics and Irwin makes my job much, much easier.

    Here's what I've learned. Why does Aristotle think that the life of pleasure is not the best life?

    Pleasure is not the highest good for Aristotle because:
    1. Happiness is continuous and pleasure is not (1177 a 20);
    2. Pleasure is good and allows us to get back to the hard work of virtue (1175 a 20);
    3. The philosopher should learn how to make the hard work of virtue pleaurable (1176 a 1);
    4. Pleaure is a limited action of the body but happiness is the unlimited action of the mind (1177 b
    25);
    5. Pleasure is a tool for happiness, just as money, power, fame, beauty and priviledge (1099 b 1);
    6. And happy people know that the best pleasure is found in friendship (1155 a 5).

    Next, whether the life of pleasure might be excellent? Yes, since
    1. The happy and excellent person can usually figure out the genuine cause of pleasure (1174 a 15);
    2. Pleasure is natural and necessary for life (1172 b 10);
    3. But there's more to life than amusing oneself all day (1176 b 35). What is there more to life? Making pleasure inferior to friendship, since friends will encourage us to do the hard work of virtue....more info
  • Revisiting the Source Book on Virtue
    I write this to convince anyone who, like me, lived a good chunk of their life without investigating this book, that it's time to get a copy and carve out a few hours. Civilizations have ordered themselves around concepts like the "Golden Mean," that every ethical virtue involves finding a balance between excess and deficiency, or that virtue is an end in itself--one that can only be lived and not merely talked about. I personally like the idea that many of the cultures of the world were tutored by the thinking of the man who wrote: "We are not studying in order to know what virtue is, but to become good, for otherwise there would be no profit in it." (NE 2.2)...more info
  • A must-have translation.
    Although I don't think Irwin's translation of Nicomachean Ethics is the best one available, and although I am also disagree with maybe half of his interpretations in the second part of the book -which, I guess, is normal in every philosophical discussion-, I do think it's an useful tool and an obligatory reference in any Nicomachean ethics' study. A "worth choosing" translation of an absolutly "worthy of choice" book....more info
  • For those who want a theory to excellence
    Aristotle's ethics is a theory of excellence so it definitely spoke to me as a individual. He starts with the claim that the end of all human action is happiness and he claims that happiness requires virtue. He goes on to look at several different types of virtues and he believes they can be perfected through practice. One is to practice at finding the golden mean between excess and deficiency. To use an example from Aristotle to illustrate, one is to act courageously, but it is rash to act with too much courage and it is cowardice to not act with enough courage. Therefore, he supports finding the mean in all human action and this is to lead to happiness. Books 8 and 9 give the best treatise on friendship that I have ever found so I recommend those two books above all of the rest. Overall the whole book is worth ones time though. Aristotle's ethics is a simple and a commonsensical approach to ethics so nobody should be put off from reading this book due to its difficulty....more info
  • Aristotle continues to hit home
    To have learned from Plato and to have taught Alexander the Great should make us take this man seriously. But the level of debate with himself in the Nichomachean ethics is awesome in and of itself. There are of course times when you have to hit "play back" just to digest the argument. there are also times when you realise other people have taken up where he left off. However, the sheer originality of his genius, the sweep of his knowledge and grasp of different fields of learning, leave the reader feeling a gain of at least ten points of IQ. The woman who reads on this audio production has outstanding elocution and reads with feeling and emphasis at the right places. I prefer to hear Aristotle, and Plato for that matter, than to read them. This is a beautiful and very professional production. ...more info
  • We Reach Our Complete Perfection Through Habit
    I read this book for a graduate seminar on Aristotle. Irwin's translation of Aristotle is the very best available! I think Aristotle's ethics is his most seminal work in philosophy. In the early 1960's virtue ethics came to fore. It is a retrieval of Aristotle. It has very close parallels to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Confucius and the modern philosophy espoused in the 1970's called Communitarianism.

    For Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics, (EN) is about human life in an embodied state. Area of inquirery for EN is "good" this is his phenomenology. What does "good" mean? He suggests good means "a desired end." Something desirable. Means towards these ends. Such as money is good, so one can buy food to eat because "eating is good." In moral philosophy distinction between "intrinsic good" vs. "instrumental good." Instrumental good towards a desire is "instrumental good" like money. Thus, money is an "instrumental good" for another purpose because it produces something beyond itself. Instrumental good means because it further produces a good, "intrinsic good" is a good for itself, "for the sake of" an object like money. "Intrinsic good" for him is "Eudemonia=happiness." This is what ethics and virtues are for the sake of the organizing principle. Eudemonia=happiness. Today we think of happiness as a feeling. It is not a feeling for Aristotle. Best translation for eudaimonia is "flourishing" or "living well." It is an active term and way of living for him thus, "excellence." Ultimate "intrinsic good" of "for the sake of." Eudaimonia is the last word for Aristotle. Can also mean fulfillment. Idea of nature was thought to be fixed in Greece convention is a variation. What he means is ethics is loose like "wealth is good but some people are ruined by wealth." EN isn't formula but a rough outline. Ethics is not precise; the nature of subject won't allow it. When you become a "good person" you don't think it out, you just do it out of habit!

    You can have ethics without religion for Aristotle. Nothing in his EN is about the afterlife. He doesn't believe in the universal good for all people at all times like Plato and Socrates. The way he thought about character of agent, "thinking about the good." In addition, Aristotle talked about character traits. Good qualities of a person who would act well. Difference between benevolent acts and a benevolent person. If you have good character, you don't need to follow rules. Aret?=virtue, in Greek not religious connotation but anything across the board meaning "excellence" high level of functioning, a peak. Like a musical virtuoso. Ethical virtue is ethical excellence, which is the "good like." In Plato, ethics has to do with quality of soul defining what to do instead of body like desires and reason. For Aristotle these are not two separate entities.

    To be good is how we live with other people, not just focus on one individual. Virtue can't be a separate or individual trait. Socrates said same the thing. Important concept for Aristotle, good upbringing for children is paramount if you don't have it, you are a lost cause. Being raised well is "good fortune" a child can't choose their upbringing. Happenstance is a matter of chance.

    Pleasure cannot be an ultimate good. Part of the "good life" involves external goods like money, one can't attain "good life" if one is poor and always working. Socrates said material goods don't matter, then he always mooched off of his friends! Aristotle surmises that the highest form of happiness is contemplation. In Aristotle's Rhetoric, he lists several ingredients for attaining eudaimonia. Prosperity, self-sufficiency, etc., is important, thus, if you are not subject to other, competing needs. A long interesting list. It is common for the hoi polloi to say pleasure=happiness. Aristotle does not deny pleasure is good; however, it is part of a package of goods. Pleasure is a condition of the soul. In the animal world, biological beings react to pleasure and pain as usual. Humans as reasoning beings must pursue knowledge to fulfill human nature. It must be pleasurable to seek knowledge and other virtues and if it is not there is something wrong according to Aristotle. These are the higher pleasures and so you may have to put off lower pleasures for the sake of attaining "higher pleasures."

    Phron?sis= "intelligence," really better to say "practical wisdom." The word practical helps here because the word Phron?sis for Aristotle is a term having to do with ethics, the choices that are made for the good. As a human being, you have to face choices about what to do and not to do. Phron?sis is going to be that capacity that power of the soul that when it is operating well will enable us to turn out well and that is why it is called practical wisdom. The practically wise person is somebody who knows how to live in such a way so that their life will turn out well, in a full package of "goods." For Aristotle, Phron?sis is not deductive or inductive knowledge like episteme; Phron?sis is not a kind of rational knowledge where you operate in either deduction or induction, you don't go thru "steps" to arrive at the conclusion. Therefore, Phron?sis is a special kind of capacity that Aristotle thinks operates in ethics. Only if you understand what Aristotle means by phronesis do you get a hold on the concept. My way of organizing it, it is Phron?sis that is a capacity that enables the virtues to manifest themselves.

    What are the virtues? Phron?sis is the capacity of the soul that will enable the virtues to fulfill themselves. Virtue ethics is the characteristics of a person that will bring about a certain kind of moral living, and that is exactly what the virtues are. The virtues are capacities of a person to act well. All of the virtues can be organized by way of this basic power of the soul called Phron?sis. There are different virtues, but it is the capacity of Phron?sis that enables these virtues to become activated. Basic issue is to find the "mean" between extremes; this is how Aristotle defines virtues.

    Humans are not born with the virtues; we learn them and practice them habitually. "We reach our complete perfection through habit." Aristotle says we have a natural potential to be virtuous and through learning and habit, we attain them. Learn by doing according to Aristotle and John Dewey. Then it becomes habitual like playing a harp. Learning by doing is important for Aristotle. Hexis= "state," "having possession." Theoria= "study." The idea is not to know what virtue is but to become "good." Emphasis on finding the balance of the mean. Each virtue involves four basic points.

    1. Action or circumstance. Such as risk of losing one's life.
    2. Relevant emotion or capacity. Such as fear and pain.
    3. Vices of excess and vices of deficiency in the emotions or the capacities. Such as cowardice is the excess vice of fear, recklessness is the excess deficiency.
    4. Virtue as a "mean" between the vices and deficiencies. Such as courage as the "mean."

    No formal rule or "mean" it depends on the situation and is different for different people as well. For example--one should eat 3,000 calories a day. Well depends on the health and girth of the person, and what activity they are engaged in. It is relative to us individually.
    All Aristotle's qualifications are based on individual situations and done with knowledge of experience. Some things are not able to have a "mean" like murder and adultery because these are not "goods."
    Akrasia= "incontinence" really "weakness of the will. Socrates thought that all virtues are instances of intelligence or Phron?sis. Aristotle criticizes Socrates idea of virtue, virtue is not caused by state of knowledge it is more complicated. Aristotle does not think you have to have a reasoned principle in the mind and then do what is right, they go together.

    The distinctions between continent and incontinent persons, and moderate (virtue) and immoderate (not virtuous) persons is as follows:

    1. Virtue. Truly virtuous people do not struggle to be virtuous, they do it effortlessly, very few people in this category, and most are in #2 and #3.
    2. Ethical strength. Continence. We know what is right thing to do but struggle with our desires.
    3. Ethical weakness. This is akrasia incontinence. Happens in real life.
    4. Vice. The person acts without regret of his bad actions.

    What does Aristotle mean by "fully virtuous"? Ethical strength is not virtue in the full sense of the term. Ethical weakness is not a full vice either. This is the critique against Socrates idea that "Knowledge equals virtue." No one can knowingly do the wrong thing. Thus, Socrates denies appetites and desires. Aristotle understands that people do things that they know are wrong, Socrates denies this. Socrates says if you know the right thing you will do it, Aristotle disagrees. The law is the social mechanism for numbers 2, 3, 4. A truly virtuous person is their own moral compass.

    I recommend Aristotle's works to anyone interested in obtaining a classical education, and those interested in philosophy. Aristotle is one of the most important philosophers and the standard that all others must be judged by.
    ...more info
  • We Reach Our Complete Perfection Through Habit
    I read this book for a graduate seminar on Aristotle. I think Aristotle's ethics is his most seminal work in philosophy. In the early 1960's virtue ethics came to fore. It is a retrieval of Aristotle. It has very close parallels to the ancient Chinese philosophy of Confucius and the modern philosophy espoused in the 1970's called Communitarianism.

    For Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics, (EN) is about human life in an embodied state. Area of inquirery for EN is "good" this is his phenomenology. What does "good" mean? He suggests good means "a desired end." Something desirable. Means towards these ends. Such as money is good, so one can buy food to eat because "eating is good." In moral philosophy distinction between "intrinsic good" vs. "instrumental good." Instrumental good towards a desire is "instrumental good" like money. Thus, money is an "instrumental good" for another purpose because it produces something beyond itself. Instrumental good means because it further produces a good, "intrinsic good" is a good for itself, "for the sake of" an object like money. "Intrinsic good" for him is "Eudemonia=happiness." This is what ethics and virtues are for the sake of the organizing principle. Eudemonia=happiness. Today we think of happiness as a feeling. It is not a feeling for Aristotle. Best translation for eudaimonia is "flourishing" or "living well." It is an active term and way of living for him thus, "excellence." Ultimate "intrinsic good" of "for the sake of." Eudaimonia is the last word for Aristotle. Can also mean fulfillment. Idea of nature was thought to be fixed in Greece convention is a variation. What he means is ethics is loose like "wealth is good but some people are ruined by wealth." EN isn't formula but a rough outline. Ethics is not precise; the nature of subject won't allow it. When you become a "good person" you don't think it out, you just do it out of habit!

    You can have ethics without religion for Aristotle. Nothing in his EN is about the afterlife. He doesn't believe in the universal good for all people at all times like Plato and Socrates. The way he thought about character of agent, "thinking about the good." In addition, Aristotle talked about character traits. Good qualities of a person who would act well. Difference between benevolent acts and a benevolent person. If you have good character, you don't need to follow rules. Aret?=virtue, in Greek not religious connotation but anything across the board meaning "excellence" high level of functioning, a peak. Like a musical virtuoso. Ethical virtue is ethical excellence, which is the "good like." In Plato, ethics has to do with quality of soul defining what to do instead of body like desires and reason. For Aristotle these are not two separate entities.

    To be good is how we live with other people, not just focus on one individual. Virtue can't be a separate or individual trait. Socrates said same the thing. Important concept for Aristotle, good upbringing for children is paramount if you don't have it, you are a lost cause. Being raised well is "good fortune" a child can't choose their upbringing. Happenstance is a matter of chance.

    Pleasure cannot be an ultimate good. Part of the "good life" involves external goods like money, one can't attain "good life" if one is poor and always working. Socrates said material goods don't matter, then he always mooched off of his friends! Aristotle surmises that the highest form of happiness is contemplation. In Aristotle's Rhetoric, he lists several ingredients for attaining eudaimonia. Prosperity, self-sufficiency, etc., is important, thus, if you are not subject to other, competing needs. A long interesting list. It is common for the hoi polloi to say pleasure=happiness. Aristotle does not deny pleasure is good; however, it is part of a package of goods. Pleasure is a condition of the soul. In the animal world, biological beings react to pleasure and pain as usual. Humans as reasoning beings must pursue knowledge to fulfill human nature. It must be pleasurable to seek knowledge and other virtues and if it is not there is something wrong according to Aristotle. These are the higher pleasures and so you may have to put off lower pleasures for the sake of attaining "higher pleasures."

    Phron?sis= "intelligence," really better to say "practical wisdom." The word practical helps here because the word Phron?sis for Aristotle is a term having to do with ethics, the choices that are made for the good. As a human being, you have to face choices about what to do and not to do. Phron?sis is going to be that capacity that power of the soul that when it is operating well will enable us to turn out well and that is why it is called practical wisdom. The practically wise person is somebody who knows how to live in such a way so that their life will turn out well, in a full package of "goods." For Aristotle, Phron?sis is not deductive or inductive knowledge like episteme; Phron?sis is not a kind of rational knowledge where you operate in either deduction or induction, you don't go thru "steps" to arrive at the conclusion. Therefore, Phron?sis is a special kind of capacity that Aristotle thinks operates in ethics. Only if you understand what Aristotle means by phronesis do you get a hold on the concept. My way of organizing it, it is Phron?sis that is a capacity that enables the virtues to manifest themselves.

    What are the virtues? Phron?sis is the capacity of the soul that will enable the virtues to fulfill themselves. Virtue ethics is the characteristics of a person that will bring about a certain kind of moral living, and that is exactly what the virtues are. The virtues are capacities of a person to act well. All of the virtues can be organized by way of this basic power of the soul called Phron?sis. There are different virtues, but it is the capacity of Phron?sis that enables these virtues to become activated. Basic issue is to find the "mean" between extremes; this is how Aristotle defines virtues.

    Humans are not born with the virtues; we learn them and practice them habitually. "We reach our complete perfection through habit." Aristotle says we have a natural potential to be virtuous and through learning and habit, we attain them. Learn by doing according to Aristotle and John Dewey. Then it becomes habitual like playing a harp. Learning by doing is important for Aristotle. Hexis= "state," "having possession." Theoria= "study." The idea is not to know what virtue is but to become "good." Emphasis on finding the balance of the mean. Each virtue involves four basic points.

    1. Action or circumstance. Such as risk of losing one's life.
    2. Relevant emotion or capacity. Such as fear and pain.
    3. Vices of excess and vices of deficiency in the emotions or the capacities. Such as cowardice is the excess vice of fear, recklessness is the excess deficiency.
    4. Virtue as a "mean" between the vices and deficiencies. Such as courage as the "mean."

    No formal rule or "mean" it depends on the situation and is different for different people as well. For example--one should eat 3,000 calories a day. Well depends on the health and girth of the person, and what activity they are engaged in. It is relative to us individually.
    All Aristotle's qualifications are based on individual situations and done with knowledge of experience. Some things are not able to have a "mean" like murder and adultery because these are not "goods."
    Akrasia= "incontinence" really "weakness of the will. Socrates thought that all virtues are instances of intelligence or Phron?sis. Aristotle criticizes Socrates idea of virtue, virtue is not caused by state of knowledge it is more complicated. Aristotle does not think you have to have a reasoned principle in the mind and then do what is right, they go together.

    The distinctions between continent and incontinent persons, and moderate (virtue) and immoderate (not virtuous) persons is as follows:

    1. Virtue. Truly virtuous people do not struggle to be virtuous, they do it effortlessly, very few people in this category, and most are in #2 and #3.
    2. Ethical strength. Continence. We know what is right thing to do but struggle with our desires.
    3. Ethical weakness. This is akrasia incontinence. Happens in real life.
    4. Vice. The person acts without regret of his bad actions.

    What does Aristotle mean by "fully virtuous"? Ethical strength is not virtue in the full sense of the term. Ethical weakness is not a full vice either. This is the critique against Socrates idea that "Knowledge equals virtue." No one can knowingly do the wrong thing. Thus, Socrates denies appetites and desires. Aristotle understands that people do things that they know are wrong, Socrates denies this. Socrates says if you know the right thing you will do it, Aristotle disagrees. The law is the social mechanism for numbers 2, 3, 4. A truly virtuous person is their own moral compass.

    I recommend Aristotle's works to anyone interested in obtaining a classical education, and those interested in philosophy. Aristotle is one of the most important philosophers and the standard that all others must be judged by.
    ...more info
  • The audio book version is very good
    I have been listening to several audio books on my commute and have been going through several of the classics. I was somewhat apprehensive listening to Aristotle since I thought it may be too complicated to listen to without needing to continually rewind and go over parts that were hard to understand. Fortunately this was not the case. The unabridged translation was very clear, and the reader, Nadia May, made it very easy to understand.

    As in other writings of Aristotle, the Nichomachean Ethics show what a master he is at organizing somewhat difficult subjects into simple categories. I learned a lot and thought about ethics in new ways. I highly recommend this audio book, though I will also get a hard copy for a reference....more info
  • Must read book
    What is the good life? What is courage and how do we become courageous? Aristotle provides rational answers and insights to these questions and many more that we often ask ourselves- clear answers which are relevant to us today.

    Stan Faryna...more info
  • A good translation of a classic
    Anybody who wants to know more about ethical theory should definitely read Nicomachean Ethics, as well as the Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals by Immanuel Kant and Utilitarianism by John Stewart Mill. This is a good translation and part of a good series of books on ethics. The binding is solid and, of course, the work within is great....more info
  • Superb Glossary
    The glossary alone is worth the price of the book. It goes into the meaning and evoked connotations of the Greek technical terms (and, mirabile dictu, gives the spellings in GREEK SCRIPT as well). 'Words,' for the Greeks, were 'charged' with meanings, not just hollow sounds. One can sense the 'Germanic' rigor coursing through Ostwald's scholarship. ...more info
  • Nice Translation
    Irwin's translation cannot be better. The only failure of the Hacket Edition is the material which is made out --both the cover and the pages are of a very weak stuff. Well, maybe it is just proporcional to the prize...
    Anyway, an excellent translation. The notes and commentary are quite useful, too. The "further reading" section at the end may show some Englsih chavinism -there is hardly one item in a language which happens not to be English!...more info
  • What to say about classic
    What can one say abaout Aristotle, something new and compelling, in such a short manner and on a narrow place of thousand words. Tousands of years people commented on Aristotle, sciences emerged from his teachings, new ways of thinking were invented and people yet couldn't help but to read Aristotle again and again, making notes and commentary. Can there be greater recommendation of this book than this? Of course, rarely does one stumble on Aristotle by chance, especially nowaday, so I have to presume that you are here for some reason.

    If you are studying philosophy, politics or some kind of philological studies than I cannot help you. To help you would require of me some kind of knowledge about this translation and history of translations of Aristotle on english language. I do not posses such knowledge, and you should probably walk away form this text to some that is more concise and has strong evidence that supports it.

    If you stumbled here by chance, which I sincerely doubt, than it would be quite sufficient what I said in first paragraph. Western civilisation arose on legacy of number of powerfull books, and Nicomachean ethics is one of those books. It is amazing and never quite stops to fascinate me that hearing of voice inside your head, older than one can imagine, voice that speaks words that you can easily pinpoint to this particular time and place. One feels somewhat scared when holding such books. And therein lies the beuty of it. ...more info
  • Irwin's Translation is Indispensable... but some cautions
    I would not hesitate to recommend Irwin's Hackett edition to anyone who wants to undertake the real work of understanding Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics."

    The translation & the interpretation underlying it are not perfect. Other translations may in some (even many) cases be based on interpretations I would prefer. So why is Irwin better? Because his is the only version that lets the reader see the nuts and bolts--that is, just how trickily ambiguous Aristotle's text so often is, and just what the translator has done to interpret it and make sense of it. Only with this extra apparatus can a Greekless reader have some confidence in forming his or her own understanding. And even most of us who know Greek are dependent on commentaries and interpretations like Irwin's to force ourselves to confront real issues and possibilities of meaning that we might clumsily miss as we read the Greek.

    Since the strength of Irwin's translation is its clearly labelled interpretative moves, I think it is worth considering looking for the out-of-print FIRST edition (ISBN 0915145669). In the first edition, Irwin intrudes his own section headings at the rate of at least ten per Bekker page. These help you know exactly how Irwin is taking the argument (and again, even if you disagree, the value of a translation lies in offering an interpretation that makes some sense). For example, at 1143b6 and following, Irwin's headings say of understanding "It seems to grow naturally..." and then later "...But in fact it requires experience." NO ONE reading the Greek out of context could possibly come up with this contrast, which basically assumes that Aristotle's Greek is misleadingly written (really straining the idea of a result clause, in this instance) in order to make Aristotle make more consistent sense.

    Irwin's notes are great. He offers TONS of cross references. It reminds me of a really good study Bible, with zillions of references to other passages packed in along the margins. (In Irwin, these notes are in the back.) Aristotle is a systematic thinker, even if he looks at things from different angles at different times. The kind of comparative reading encouraged by these references is the only way to understand Aristotle.

    In short, this is a great edition that lets an English-language reader get into the "laboratory" of interpreting Aristotle. It's not polished, but neither is Aristotle. If you're sentenced to a lengthy jail term, you could take this volume, read and reread it with all Irwin's glossary-essays and cross-refs., and really start to understand how Aristotle thinks. If you were smart, you would end up disagreeing with some of Irwin's translations and interpretations. But it's a tremendous testimony to his interpretative labor that you could disagree in this way. (But if it's a general handle on Aristotle, as opposed to the Ethics, you want, you should really start with Irwin and Fine's Hackett "Selections"--NOT their "Introductory Readings" which deprives you of the glossary-and-notes apparatus really needed to get it.)...more info
  • Timeless classic
    This philosophical work by Aristotle truly transcends time. The Nicomachean Ethics covers different grounds on human character and human relationships.

    The main question of this book being: What is the meaning of life? And how can I fulfill it?

    Aristotle underlines the difference between knowing the meaning and actually setting out to give life to this meaning through virtuous actions.

    A truly eye and soul opening work. Read it, and apply your knowledge!...more info
  • Wonderful
    Although this is not exactly the most engaging of reads, it is still wonderful, most especially due to the depth of the intellectual ideas presented. A must for any fan of Philosophy, Politics or thinking in general....more info
  • Short Review
    The Ethics is a semnial work in philosophy. Erwin does a good job with translation and with notes in the back. This review is intended not to describe the book, but to recommend it over any other book on the market today.

    Avery...more info
  • A breif note on the contemplative life
    Several reviewers have submitted that the highest life Aristotle proposes consists in "hard work" or is "the most difficult life." I am afraid this language does not accurately present Aristotle's description. Aristotle writes in these lecture notes that the contemplative life is "superior to the human level" (1177b27). Yet, he distinguishes it from the secondary lives by saying that these secondary lives "require trouble" (1177b18).

    Aristotle calls the contemplative life the most pleasant life (1177a25ff). Certainly, study can be hard work; but this is not hard work in the sense of toil. To work towards the truth and contemplate it once attained requires little strain. It is done as the virtuous agent does the right action in any given circumstance: with ease. Through the influence of Kant (and possibly the Stoics), we often associate virtue with denying the passions and overcoming the greatest obstacles; likewise, we associate vice with the passions overcoming reason. In this sense, the most virtuous person would have no passions at all. However, Aristotle suggests that passions only conflict with reason in a lower moral character. When reason prevails and one does the right action against passion's urges, he calls this 'enkrasia'; when the passions overcome, he calls this 'akrasia'.

    However, the internal discord present in these characters are not present in the virtuous (and the vicious). The virtuous character is the most reliable and participates in the definition of virtue itself because the agent has habituated the passions to follow reason. His or her passions actually encourage the agent to do what is right. (Note: the vicious agent, through doing base actions, no longer recognizes them as such, and so reason and passion coincide in doing what is wrong).

    Applying these distinctions to the contemplative life, we see that this activity is not work at all in the sense of toil. The activity requires effort for sure; but, this effort is the most enjoyable for the agent. It engages what is highest in the human person and when it is carried out through a (morally and intellectually) virtuous character, this activity turns out to be the most pleasurable. So while pleasure is not the human good and not the measure of happiness, it is wrong to think that the good life is not pleasant for the eudaimon. It is only a stuggle for those still on the way to achieving it....more info
  • Concepts that should be incorporated in our life....
    I guess this book is what you would call the predecessor of the current Self-Help Books.
    The greatness of Nicomachean Ethics resides in the fact that it talks about all the different areas of life, justice, happiness, love and many others.
    The style of the writing is not very appealing -keep in mind it was written around the 3rd century BC -, nonetheless is clear and goes straight to the point.
    It is a good book that anyone who enjoys growing up should read...
    ...more info
  • Psychotherapy? Happy Pills? or Aristotle? -- Aristotle!!!
    A previous reviewer described Nicomachean Ethics as "the art of living." I would agree with this sentiment. Aristotle not only teaches the art of living - but he teaches us that it is hard work. Such a conviction stands in stark contrast to the facile solutions that are contrived for "happiness" today. Happiness is not easy. It may not even feel like what we assume it is in our contemporary society (i.e., a feeling of pleasure, self-esteem, material goods). It is much deeper. It is about living the good life. A must read for all those interested in psychotherapy, education, and "the art of living."...more info
  • Doing the right thing...
    Aristotle was a philosopher in search of the chief good for human beings. This chief good is eudaimonia, which is often translated as 'happiness' (but can also be translated as 'thriving' or 'flourishing'). Aristotle sees pleasure, honour and virtue as significant 'wants' for people, and then argues that virtue is the most important of these.

    In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes the claim that happiness is something which is both precious and final. This seems to be so because it is a first principle or ultimate starting point. For, it is for the sake of happiness that we do everything else, and we regard the cause of all good things to be precious and divine. Moreover, since happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with complete and perfect virtue, it is necessary to consider virtue, as this will be the best way of studying happiness.

    How many of us today speak of happiness and virtue in the same breath? Aristotle's work in the Nicomachean Ethics is considered one of his greatest achievements, and by extension, one of the greatest pieces of philosophy from the ancient world. When the framers of the American Declaration of Independence were thinking of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there is little doubt they had an acquaintance with Aristotle's work connecting happiness, virtue, and ethics together.

    When one thinks of ethical ideas such as an avoidance of extremes, of taking the tolerant or middle ground, or of taking all things in moderation, one is tapping into Aristotle's ideas. It is in the Nicomachean Ethics that Aristotle proposes the Doctrine of the Mean - he states that virtue is a 'mean state', that is, it aims for the mean or middle ground. However, Aristotle is often misquoted and misinterpreted here, for he very quickly in the text disallows the idea of the mean to be applied in all cases. There are things, actions and emotions, that do not allow the mean state. Thus, Aristotle tends to view virtue as a relative state, making the analogy with food - for some, two pounds of meat might be too much food, but for others, it might be too little. The mean exists between the state of deficiency, too little, and excessiveness, too much.

    Aristotle proposes many different examples of virtues and vices, together with their mean states. With regard to money, being stingy and being illiberal with generosity are the extremes, the one deficient and the other excessive. The mean state here would be liberality and generosity, a willingness to buy and to give, but not to extremes. Anger, too, is highlighted as having a deficient state (too much passivity), an excessive state (too much passion) and a mean state (a gentleness but firmness with regard to emotions).

    Aristotle states that one of the difficulties with leading a virtuous life is that it takes a person of science to find the mean between the extremes (or, in some cases, Aristotle uses the image of a circle, the scientist finding the centre). Many of us, being imperfect humans, err on one side or the other, choosing in Aristotle's words, the lesser of two evils. Aristotle's wording here, that a scientist is the only one fully capable of virtue, has a different meaning for scientist - this is a pre-modern, pre-Enlightenment view; for Aristotle, the person of science is one who is capable of observation and calculation, and this can take many different forms.

    Aristotle uses different kinds of argumentation in the Nicomachean Ethics. He uses a dialectical method, as well as a functional method. In the dialectical method, there are opposing ideas held in tension, whose interactions against each other yield a result - this is often how the mean between extremes is derived. However, there are other times that Aristotle seems to prefer a more direct, functional approach. Both of these methods lead to the same understanding for Aristotle's sense of the rational - that humanity's highest or final good is happiness.

    There is a discussion of the human soul (for this is where virtue and happiness reside). Aristotle argues that virtue is not a natural state; we are not born with nor do we acquire through any natural processes virtue, but rather through 'habitation', an embedding process or enculturation that makes these a part of our soul. However, it is not sufficient for Aristotle's virtue that one merely function as a virtuous person or that virtuous things be done. This is not a skill, but rather an art, and to be virtuous, one must live virtuously and act virtuously with intention as well as form.

    Of course, one of the implications here is that virtue is a quantifiable thing, that periodically resurfaces in later philosophies. How do we calculate virtue?

    This is a difficult question, and not one that Aristotle answers in any definitive way. However, more important than this is the key difference that Aristotle displayed setting himself apart from his tutor Plato; rather than seeing the possession of 'the good' or 'virtue' as the highest ideal, Aristotle is concerned with the practical aspects, the ethics of this. Based on Aristotle's lectures in Athens in the fourth century BCE, this remains one of the most important works on ethical and moral philosophy in history.
    ...more info
  • Psychotherapy? Happy Pills? or Aristotle? -- Aristotle!!!
    A previous reviewer described Nicomachean Ethics as "the art of living." I would agree with this sentiment. Aristotle not only teaches the art of living - but he teaches us that it is hard work. Such a conviction stands in stark contrast to the facile solutions that are contrived for "happiness" today. Happiness is not easy. It may not even feel like what we assume it is in our contemporary society (i.e., a feeling of pleasure, self-esteem, material goods). It is much deeper. It is about living the good life. A must read for all those interested in psychotherapy, education, and "the art of living."...more info
  • A foundation work in Western ethical thought
    After the reading of Plato the reading of his greatest pupil Aristotle seems difficult and uninspiring. Yet Aristotle is in many areas at the foundation of Western thought. He is the master of all who know whose thought about the universe and the way it works dominated Western thought for close to one thousand years. In the Nicomeanan ethics named after his son who edited the work Aristotle sets out his idea of what the good life is for the human being. For Aristotle every element of nature has its own essence that defines what its goal is . This is also true for the human being whose pursuit of good is to lead to eudaimonia ' happiness'. Aristotle talks about three areas of human endeavor, the common everyday area, the political area and the contemplative. For Aristotle the highest life is the life of contemplation and the few who attain this realize the human potential to the full. In his ethics Aristotle emphasizes the 'golden mean' as the path to right action. Between two extremes for instance timidity and rashness comes the virtue of courage. The Ethics aims to teach us what human beings are in essence and how to fully become themselves. In this realization of our own inherent nature we live in a true way.
    This short summary does of course not do justice to the Ethics, or to the many subtleties of Aristotle's ethical thought. I believe to get to those subtleties more than reading of this great work is required. Only careful study will help here. ...more info
  • A response to Kenghis Khan...one of the best books ever writ
    Having spent an entire semester in a philosophy class studying ONLY Aristotle, I believe I can say that I have a good understanding of the subject matter on which he wrote. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics is one of the greatest books of Western Civilization. It encompasses much more than just how to be a "good" person. Because it builds off of his other books, specifically the Categories and the Metaphysics, it is difficult to understand all the nuances of the book.
    In response to "Kenghis Khan," succinctly put, you are wrong. Aristotle does not arbitrarily decide that the human telos, or goal, is to reach eudiamonia, or a fully flourishing life. Aristotle uses sound reasoning to come to this conclusion. Kenghis Khan makes Aristotle sound as though he has decided that the good life is only achievable by perfecting a talent that he has decided is inherently human. Aristotle believes that everything in nature has a purpose or goal. Because humans are the only animals that reason, (monkeys also pick their noses by the way) it is our reason that makes us unique. This is only a tiny aspect of living the virtuous life. Kenghis Khan mentions that being a good flute player and perfecting that talent makes us virtuous. This is not true. First, Aristotle believes that anyone who works with their hands, including musicians, is vulgar craftsmen. Therefore, he would not consider someone who is musically inclined to be good. Second, only developing the talent that one is good at does not constitute virtue. One must practice all the virtues-temperance, courage, mildness, and just-ness to name a few. However, habituation alone is not enough. Because we are rational animals, we must use our reasoning abilities to deliberate about what would be an appropriate action to a given situation. We should always aim for the mean reaction and avoid actions of excess or deficiency. A virtuous person must also have leisure time. Leisure time insures that we will have time to contemplate. The most perfect act of contemplation is the act of contemplating the telos of the human species. Aristotle also writes that in order to be truly virtuous, we must engage in political debate, because being political is our nature.
    In conclusion, Aristotle does NOT tell us that we must simply develop on facet of ourselves to be considered virtuous. Instead, we must use our rational ability to deliberate about choices, we must spend time contemplating the meaning of our life, and we must engage in open debate, particularly political debate. So, even if Aristotle had said that nose-picking was an inherently human action, he would have never granted that merely perfecting it would make us virtuous.
    ...more info
  • Extremely readable for any individual
    Irwin's translation is extremely readable for any individual and I urge any individual to read "Nicomachean Ethics". It is not necessary to have a formal background in philosophy to read and appreciate the concepts developed by Aristotle in "Nicomachean Ethics". It is in my personal opinion that Aristotle was a remarkably gifted individual whose ideas seem to emanate from a divine truth. I can not imagine any individual with a mind open to new ideas who would not benefit greatly from reading this book; especially, those who require a reaffirmation of their own truth developed through the course of their own life, such as: the concept of genuine happiness and a parallel one could draw with regards to the sanctification of human activity/ human life/ human spirit....more info
  • Virtue is its own reward
    Whenever I read the ancient philosophical texts, which I do because I tend to believe that they're good for me and that old wisdom is sometimes (but not always) the best wisdom, I try to identify their influence on modern times and literature. One of the principal messages in the Judeo-Christian tradition is that of the importance of personal virtue, and many images and stories in this tradition instruct us by illustration either real or fictional about virtue's rewards, that he or she who acts in an acceptable manner will reap worldly (and heavenly) benefits. By somewhat of a contrast, Aristotle had contended that virtue is its own reward, that is, to be virtuous is to be happy, and he expounds this idea in the body of writings called the Nicomachean Ethics.

    Defining virtue as a desirable state of character, Aristotle enumerates the different categories of virtue--courage, temperance, thrift, modesty--and proceeds to explain that the ideal human state is one that seeks the mean, or intermediate, quantity of each of these virtues, the excess or deficiency of which is called a vice. For example, a deficiency of courage, called timidity, is certainly a vice; but likewise an excess of courage, called rashness, is faulty behavior as well. (An "excess" of a virtue may sound like a good thing, but Aristotle means an excess in the sense of lacking judgment or wisdom; for example, stepping in front of a speeding car may take courage, but it is more accurately described as rashness and would not be considered by anybody to be virtuous behavior, unless there were a higher purpose in doing so, such as to save someone else's life. But rashness is at least closer to the virtuous mean than is timidity.)

    To those that would say that virtue has rewards outside of itself, Aristotle might reply that virtue rather has effects or consequences. A man who attains virtue earns pride, which is the "crown of the virtues" despite the fact that in a different context it can be regarded as a deficiency of modesty, and therefore is happy. A virtuous man is likely to exercise justice (a man who performs a just act is just only if the act is voluntary) and equity (if you steal a man's watch, you owe him a watch), and this behavior wins him friendship (with other people of similar virtue, of course; evil people gain evil friends), which results in pleasure (no man is an island).

    Unlike the sophists, Aristotle is not teaching virtue or dispensing advice to his students (one of whom was Alexander the soon-to-be-Great) to make them more virtuous; he is suggesting that virtue may be developed by observing the effects of our behavior, since none of us is perfect. Virtue is not a state of perfection but an understanding of how to minimize our tendency to submit to our baser impulses....more info

  • Modern translation eschews original meaning
    Not worth the read. Many phrases misleadingly translated. Reflects the large and un-Aristotelian preoccupation with rules of modern moral philosophy.

    Alternative recommendation: J.A.K. Thomson's translation of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics by Penguin Classics....more info

  • Foundation of Western ethical thought
    It seems rather foolish to 'review' Aristotle, THE Philosopher. Nothing in the Western intellectual tradition isn't touched by Aristotle's works. The Nichomachean Ethics, unlike say, the largely irrelevant Physics, or extremeley esoteric Metaphysics, is a very accessible. It's also the work that probably best sums up Aristotle's practical philosophy. To summerize in a way that is completely insulting to the work, Aristotle applies his idea of moderation, the Golden mean, to numerous ethical situatlions, in an attempt to discover what constitutes the Good life and the Good man. AS previous reviewers have said, there isn't a chapter of Aristotle that does not produce some revalation or insight. And with over 100 chapters...well, you get the idea. Anyway, in addition to providing a basis for understanding the very workings of ethics and morals in a timeless sense, reading Aristotle changes the way in which you think. Literally. He has a distinctive, ordered, logical philosophy that anyone who want to be taken seriously in argument needs to learn. Simply, this is only of the most important books ever written, and anyone, philosophy scholar or not, owes it to him or her self to read it....more info
  • Great book, bad translation
    Aristotle's Ethics is an excellent philosphical read and gives great insight into both greek philosphy and the history of philosphy. All of the above review are correct, my only concern, and the reason why I gave it a low rating, is that the translation is terrible in this version. It is meant to be a simple and easy to understand version. For more serious students, I would stick to more scholary versions....more info
  • The Pleasures of Contemplation
    More than any other of Aristotle's writings, the Nicomachean Ethics speaks in a powerful voice to our own age; not only as an artifact of thought, or as a key to the historical interpretation of "Western Metaphysics", but as a challenge to our values, our assumptions, and, above all else, the complacency with which we approach the task of living life. Yet precisely because of its apparent immediacy, we must remain vigilant regarding the prejudices that we bring to the act of reading. Even the title, in this regard, presents difficulties. Ethics, for Aristotle, is not the same as "morality" or "right conduct": rather it means the cultivation of habit of the soul, --- a disposition towards the passions --- that is conducive to virtuous action. The very notion of virtuous action is itself misleading. Aristotle is not so much concerned with individual "actions" - let alone with the "moral dilemmas" so many so-called "ethicists" - as with the activity that, as the proper work or function (ergon) of human beings, grants a unifying purpose to all the "doings" that constitute life. This "work," - which must be nothing else that the work of our entire lives -, is either the political life or the life of contemplation. The first is the highest purely human life; the latter, in contrast, is divine. Perhaps the strangest notion of the Nicomachean Ethics, however, is pleasure: pleasure is neither a passive sensation, nor some sort of activity, but rather that which brings the activity to perfection, supervening on the activity like "the bloom of health in the young and vigorous."
    If we have learned our lessons from Darwin, and have the strength of mind to behold a nature without purpose and a human race with no proper and essential function, what can then remain for us of an ethics grounded upon a natural and immanent teleology? Must we insist upon the fact/value distinction in all its rigor and exile ethics into the stars? Or are we left only with an act of pure, groundless will - a will that exists only through the act of positing values, of assigning to things their worth and thus giving human kind its end and meaning? Perhaps Aristotle's "pleasure" points towards another possibility: the joyful contemplation of this life in the blossom of its ephemerality and contingency....more info