Sir David Ross has done a remarkable work by translating the thousands of years old Aristotelian script into English comprehensively. Oxford 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 got the longest introduction, longer notes of explanations and a new note on the translation.
The book is one of the greatest produced by the Aristotle. Aristotle was more of a scientist than a philosopher as he used to investigate everything with a keen eye and logical perspective. In this book, he discussed a lot of aspects of natural life regarding ethics, politics, sadness, happiness and the way humans interact with each other in an early Greek state of ancient times. Aristotle has very different views about the universe and the laws governing the universal procedures. Aristotle work polished the political views of the society. He had some radical views about governmental systems. According to him, there are total three different types of governmental system, and each comes with a deviation. First is a monarchy, the rule of one person, which is the finest form of governance according to Aristotle. But 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 will be 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. According to him, all the knowledge we get is essentially coming from the observable universe. We perceive what we see, and we get the knowledge from what we can sense from the five senses. It Is the basic point of scientific revolution as science separated the religion from the life and told the church that whatever is happening in the universe is due to some cause. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle focused on the materialistic virtues of human which might cause the excellence in the life. According to him, a rational human soul strives for the Happiness throughout his life. An excellent human being lives happily according to Aristotle. It is quoted by the Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics that a rational soul’s activity is a happiness which is in agreement with virtue. Virtues are the judgment points on which we could 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 the way we deal with any given harsh situation, and temperance is the measure of how soberly we can deal with the presented situation. Justice is the way we deal with the 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 with the abilities of argument and reasoning. Aristotle argues that human ability to speech gives him the upper hand on 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 the group of people, we will call him as lawless and tribeless, and he will not reach his maximum development. As social animals, we tend to react to each other’s actions and learn new things and grow.