Socrates (469399 BC)
Plato (428347 BC)
Aristotle (385322 BC)
So named because it was edited by his son Nichomacus
Begin with discussion of eudaimonia = happiness, flourishing
Turn to examination of the nature of arête = virtue, excellence
What character traits do human beings need in order to live life at its best?
Aristotle does not propose a MORAL RULE:
We can’t codify virtue in a system of actionguiding rules
Circumstances of life are too complex and variable
Rather, analyze the notion of a good or virtuous character
A person of good character will respond and act correctly
thics is practica l iscipline (n theoretical
We don’t ask about the nature of the good simply because we want to have knowledge.
We study ethics in order to improve our lives.
Principal concern is the nature of human wellbeing.
The virtues are central to a welllived life.
Question: What is “The Good”?
We can list many good things, but what is theHIGHEST GOOD ? Three Requirements:
Finality: It is desirable for itself; an ultimate goal; never a means to some other good
Self Sufficiency: Once one has it, one will no desire anything else; by itself, it makes life desirable
Maximum Desirability: Nothing else could be added to it to make it more desirable
Question: What satisfies these requirements?
Eudaimonia (Happiness, or Living Well)
No one t