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Ebook Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle read! Book Title: Nicomachean Ethics
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 38.42 MB
v The author of the book: Aristotle
Edition: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.
Date of issue: December 1st 1999
ISBN: 0872204642
ISBN 13: 9780872204645
City - Country: No data

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Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle postulates the highest human good is eudaimonia or what is loosely translated into English as happiness. And a substantial component in the path to such human happiness is acting with the appropriate virtues over the course of an entire lifetime. The details of these Aristotelean teachings form the Nicomachean Ethics, one of the most influential works in the entire history of Western Civilization.

As a way of sharing but a small example of Aristotle’s extensive philosophy outlined in these pages, I will focus on Book IV Chapter 8 where the eminent Greek philosopher addresses the virtue of being witty, sensitive to others, discerning and perceptive, particularly when we are at our leisure. Here are six Aristotle quotes and my brief accompanying comments:

“Since life includes rest as well as activity, and in this is included leisure and amusement, there seems here also to be a kind of intercourse which is tasteful; there is such a thing as saying- and again listening to- what one should and as one should.”--------- Aristotle’s focus on time spent outside of work, what we nowadays refer to as ‘leisure time’, makes this section of his ethical teachings particularly relevant for us today, most especially since we are bombarded by a nonstop barrage of advertisements, store signs, billboards, Muzak, etc. etc., some subtle, many not so subtle.

“The kind of people one is speaking to or listening to will also make a difference.” --------- Very important who we associate with both at work and outside of work. Aristotle is optimistic that we can actively participate in society and exercise discrimination as we develop wisdom to speak as we should and listen as we should. In contrast, another Greek philosopher, Epicurus, was not so optimistic on this point. Epicurus judged conventional society as blind and dumb, particularly as it pertains to men and women expounding values regarding such things as riches and fame and what constitutes our true human needs. The answer for Epicurus: withdraw into a separate community with like-minded friends and philosophers.

“Regarding people’s views on humor there is both an excess and a deficiency as compared with the mean. Those who carry humor to excess are thought to be vulgar buffoons, striving after humor at all costs, and aiming rather at raising a laugh than at saying what is becoming and at avoiding pain to the object of their fun while those who can neither make a joke themselves nor put up with those who do are thought to be boorish and unpolished.” -------- Sounds like Aristotle attended the same junior high school and high school as I did. Again, he is optimistic that someone who aspires to philosophic excellence, virtue and the mean (maintaining a middle position between two extremes) can live among buffoons and boors without being pulled down to their level. The question I would pose to Aristotle: What happens when we live in an entire society dominated by vulgar buffoon and uptight boors, where the buffoons and boors set the standards for what it means to be human? Particularly, what happens to the development of children and young adults?

“But those who joke in a tasteful way are called ready-witted, which implies a sort of readiness to turn this way and that; for such sallies are thought to be movements of the character, and as bodies are discriminated by their movements, so too are characters.” ---------- “I had an opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak. You will be hard pressed to find someone with a more lively sense of humor. If you haven’t seen him speak, you can check out Youtube.

“The ridiculous side of things is not far to seek, however, and most people delight more than they should in amusement and in jestingly and so even buffoons are called ready-witted because they are found attractive; but that they differ from the ready-witted man, and to no small extent, is clear from what has been said.” ---------- Ha! So Aristotle sees, in fact, how buffoonery can easily lapse into the social norm. Thus our challenge is how to retain our integrity when surrounded by slobs and buffoons.

“To the middle state belongs also tact; it is the mark of a tactful man to say and listen to such things as befit a good and well-bred man; for there are some things that it befits such a man to say and to hear by way of jest, and the well-bred man's jesting differs from that of a vulgar man, and the joking of an educated man from that of an uneducated.” ---------- Aristotle’s overarching observation on how the wisdom of the middle way between two extremes applies here – not good acting at either extreme, being a boor or being a buffoon. Unfortunately, speaking and otherwise communicating in a buffoonish or boorish way is in no way restricted to the uneducated or dull – I’ve witnessed numerous instances of buffoonery and boorishness among the highly educated and intellectually astute.

The entire Nicomachean Ethics is available online: http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nic...






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Aristotle (384–322 B.C.E.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity through the Renaissance, and even today continue to be studied with keen, non-antiquarian interest. A prodigious researcher and writer, Aristotle left a great body of work, perhaps numbering as many as two-hundred treatises, from which approximately thirty-one survive. His extant writings span a wide range of disciplines, from logic, metaphysics and philosophy of mind, through ethics, political theory, aesthetics and rhetoric, and into such primarily non-philosophical fields as empirical biology, where he excelled at detailed plant and animal observation and taxonomy. In all these areas, Aristotle's theories have provided illumination, met with resistance, sparked debate, and generally stimulated the sustained interest of an abiding readership.

Because of its wide range and its remoteness in time, Aristotle's philosophy defies easy encapsulation. The long history of interpretation and appropriation of Aristotelian texts and themes—spanning over two millennia and comprising philosophers working within a variety of religious and secular traditions—has rendered even basic points of interpretation controversial. The set of entries on Aristotle in this site addresses this situation by proceeding in three tiers. First, the present, general entry offers a brief account of Aristotle's life and characterizes his central philosophical commitments, highlighting his most distinctive methods and most influential achievements. Second are General Topics which offer detailed introductions to the main areas of Aristotle's philosophical activity. Finally, there follow Special Topics which investigate in greater detail more narrowly focused issues, especially those of central concern in recent Aristotelian scholarship


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