Aristotle, Nicomachean - book 1 ch.1-13 and book 2 ch.1-9

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University of Toronto St. George
Mark Kingwell

Philosophy The Virtuous Life Reading: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics Books 1-2 Book 1 Chapter 1 Every skill and every inquiry, and every action and rational choice is thought to aim at some good Therefore good is at which everything aims Difference in ends: some are activities, other are products, which are additional to the activities where the products are by nature better than the activities Because there are many actions, sciences, and skills, therefore there are many ends, e.g. end of medicine is health But when any of these actions, skills, or sciences come under some single faculty, then in all these cases the end of the master science is more worthy of choice than the ends of subordinate sciences, since these too are pursed for the sake of the former Chapter 2 If what is done has some end that we want for its own sake, and everything else we want is for the sake of this end; and if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else, then this will result in the chief good. Knowledge of good is concern of the most authoritative sciencethe science of politics, because it lays down which of the sciences there should be in cities, and which each class of person should learn and up to what level Political sciences end will be the human good, because it employs other sciences, lays down the laws about what we should do and refrain from, and its end will include the end of others The good of an individual is desirable, but good for people and city is more godlike thing Chapter 3 Each person judges well what he knows, and is a good judge of this In any subject, and the person educated in all subjects is a good judge without qualifications One can gain knowledge only when they are living and engaging in each of his pursuits according to his feelings. Knowledge of the matters that concern political science will prove very beneficial to those who follow reason both in shaping their desires and in acting Chapter 4 All knowledge and rational choice seek good Aim of political science: of all the good things to be done, what is the highest happiness? www.notesolution.comPhilosophy What is happiness? Masses: something straight forward, obvious, e.g. pleasure, wealth, honour. Sometimes differ based on situation for same person, e.g. when he is ill, it is health, and when he is poor, it is wealth Plato way to go was from first principle or to first principle? We are known in two senses: known by us, and known without qualification Begin from things known by us First principle the belief that something is the case, and if this is sufficiently clear, he will not need the reason why as well Hesoid: person who understand everything for himself is the best, and the person who needs advice is noble, but person who is neither understand or takes to heart is a worthless man Chapter 5 3 types of life: life of enjoyment, life of politics, and life of contemplation Sophisticated men, men of action, see happiness as honour, since it is almost the end of political life Pursue honour to convince themselves of their goodness; seek to be honoured by people with practical wisdomto these people, virtue is superior Chapter 6 It is best to ignore ones personal feelings when preserving the truth, especially for philosophers It is sacred to prefer the truth to ones friends Good is spoken of in categories of substance, quality and of relation Good is spoken of in that of quality the virtues in that of quality the right amount in that of relation the useful, in that of time the right moment, and in that of place the right locality, etc Therefore no common universal good Things which are pursued and valued for their own sake are called good, while these that tend to be instrumental to these things or in some way preserve or prevent their contraries are called good for the sake of these Therefore things should be called good in 2 senses: things good to themselves, and things good for the sake of thing good to themselves Things good to themselves, those that are sought even on their own, include: understanding, sight, certain types of pleasure, and honours Chapter 7 Good varies bw actions and skills If everything that is done has some end, this will be the good among things done, and if there are several ends, these will be the goods The chief good manifestly is something complete
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