The statement “Our account will be adequate if its clarity is in line with the subject matter because the same degree of precision is not to be sought in all discussions, any more than in works of craftsmanship.” (NE I.3, 1094b) Appears in Book I, Chapter 3. It is the main from some forewarnings. Aristotle cautions us not to assume any particular rules or codes of conduct. This is not idleness on Aristotle’s part. In fact, he clarifies the beast’s nature. Ethics deals with the notions of human life and must continue to be malleable enough to account for a great deal of diversity and likelihood.
Additionally, Aristotle tells us that quality cannot be imparted in a classroom but can be educated only through continual practice until it becomes customary. If virtue contained rigid and firm instructions, it would undoubtedly be probable to lay them out clearly in a classroom. Unluckily for those expecting the relaxed path towards success, no such directions are present.
Aristotle says that virtue is the decree under which we are born. The law was of nature such that if we would achieve happiness, we are destined to achieve it. Happiness, in its uppermost and cleanest logic, is our “being’s end and aim” and this is a vigor or action of the soul according to the law of virtue. The energy of the purest of the capabilities of the soul, of that capacity which is appropriate and uncharacteristic to man alone; namely, understanding or motive. A man is for righteous vitalities gifted with abilities for noble deeds with a natural flavor and gratitude for that which is morally fine-looking, and therefore happiness becomes imaginable and achievable. Had this not been the situation, all moral teaching would be inoperable.
Since happiness is considered to be the dynamism or the commotion of the soul conferring to its utmost superiority and which is the representative property of a person namely pure intellectual brilliance, it is evident that meditative happiness is more excellent than every other kind and establishes the chief good of man.
Aristotle says that, in each discipline, the good thing is the goal for which it aims, and occasionally that’s more than one thing. And at other times, we intend to do those things for the sake of something else such as wealth. Such goods are not complete. So the complete thing is the one that’s selected for its sake and not as a road that leads to another good. Aristotle determines that happiness is exactly this kind of good. We always pick happiness for its sake. We select other qualities such as integrity, desire, and intelligence as ends in themselves, but also because they help us to be happy.
The “better” good will be defined as something that is complete and which is good in itself, without the necessity to mention something else. If there are numerous complete goods, then the most complete is the best one.
On the other side, nobody elects happiness to become righteous. Therefore, it’s a complete end in itself. Aristotle presents the idea of self-sufficiency. A complete good is self-sufficient and not just for one person by himself, but for those around him. It is the thing we can deliberately choose irrespective of any other good. Further, happiness is the most choice-worthy thing, since it isn’t just one good thing, it’s lots of good things taken together. If you enhance extra good things to it, you’d have a “superabundance” of good things.
In NE chapter 7, Aristotle says, “For just as the good – the doing well – of a flue-player, a sculptor or any practitioner of a skill, or generally whatever has some characteristic activity or action, is thought to lie in its characteristic activity, so the same would seem to be true of a human being if indeed he has a characteristic activity.” (1097b)
So in this quote, Aristotle defines characteristic activity as an active life linked to a reason. This comprises not just having a motive but also acting upon it through thought and accomplishment.
Moreover, he describes human work as an “activity of the soul by reason,” and the work of a solemn man who’s devoted to moral virtue is to work well and decently. So, human good has something to do with the activity of the soul in harmony with virtue. This is not just any virtue. Aristotle indicates complete virtue. The most complete and self-sufficient is the absolute best, in any classification.
Aristotle eventually accomplishes that observation is the chief human activity. This is mainly a result of his teleological view of nature. According to this view, the telos, or goal of human life is the implementation of our coherent authorities. In debating the several scholarly qualities, Aristotle commends knowledge as the premier, since it deals only with static, universal facts and rests on the production of technical analysis and the spontaneous understanding of the first ethics of nature. The activity of perception is inspection, so contemplation and inspection must be the highest activity of human life.
Aristotle also says that sometimes it’s best not to be too detailed about things or seek their source. Doing so may divert from the determination of the examination. Ideologies can be hunted, but each is conferring to its nature. Like some can be done through thoughtfulness, others through cognitive approach and familiarization. And we should pursue them, since knowing the commencement seems to be more than part of the entire, revealing valuable things once it’s identified.
- Browne, Robert William, ed. The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. Bell & Daldy, 1905.
- The Nicomachean Ethics. Wordsworth Editions, 1996.
- Pakaluk, Michael. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: An introduction. Cambridge University Press, 2005.