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Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Sir David Ross has done remarkable work by comprehensively translating the thousands of years old Aristotelian script into English. Oxford’s first version of the translation of Nicomachean Ethics was published about ninety-two years back, and after that, Ross also published some other modest revisions of the book. There are many other translations of this book, but David’s version has the longest introduction, longer notes of explanations, and a new note on the translation.

The book is one of the greatest produced by Aristotle. Aristotle was more of a scientist than a philosopher as he investigated everything with a keen eye and logical perspective. In this book, he discussed a lot of aspects of natural life, such as ethics, politics, sadness, and happiness, and the way humans interacted with each other in the early Greek state of ancient times. Aristotle has very different views about the universe and the laws governing the universal procedures. Aristotle’s work polished the political views of the society. He had some radical views about governmental systems. According to him, there are a total of three different types of governmental systems, and each comes with a deviation. First is a monarchy, the rule of one person, which is Aristotle’s finest form of governance. However, the deviation of this system is a dictatorship. The second form is “Aristocracy” which is the rule of the best class among the people, but it comes with the “Oligarchy” the worst governing group. The third form of governance is “Timocracy” in which one needs to hold some property to rule, and the corrupt form of governance against Timocracy is a democracy, according to Aristotle, in which everyone is fighting for their own set of interests instead of securing the interests of the state.

Aristotle always approached the universe materialistically. He says all the knowledge we get comes from the observable universe. We perceive what we see, and we get knowledge from what we can sense from the five senses. It Is the basic point of the scientific revolution as science separated religion from life and told the church that whatever happens in the universe is due to some cause. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle focused on humans’ materialistic virtues, which might cause excellence in life. According to him, a rational human soul strives for Happiness throughout his life. An excellent human being lives happily according to Aristotle. Aristotle quotes in Nicomachean Ethics that a rational soul’s activity is happiness that agrees with virtue. Virtues are the judgment points on which we can analyze the goodness and badness of a human soul. According to Aristotle, there are four basic human virtues: wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice. Courage is how we deal with any given harsh situation, and temperance measures how soberly we can deal with the presented situation. Justice is how we deal with others and wisdom is choosing the mean path for life. These virtues collectively bring happiness in life.

According to Aristotle, the man in a state is a political animal who can argue and reason. Aristotle argues that the human ability to speak gives him the upper hand over other animals and makes him political. He was of the opinion that a human being is a social animal, so he reaches his maximum potential and development by living in groups. A person without a state or any association with a group of people will call him lawless and tribeless, and he will not reach his maximum development. As social animals, we tend to react to each other’s actions learn new things, and grow.



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