Nicomachean Ethics

by

Aristotle

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Nicomachean Ethics Terms

End

The end of something is the ultimate result or benefit toward which a process is tending. For example, health is the end of medicine, and a boat is the end of boatbuilding. read analysis of End

Good

The good of something is similar to its end; it is the result that something rationally aims for. Aristotle says that the best good is the end that we desire for its own sake… read analysis of Good

Political Science

Aristotle describes political science as the highest of the sciences, to which all other fields of study are subordinate. Its goal is securing and maintaining the happiness of society through laws and systems of governance… read analysis of Political Science

Happiness

According to Aristotle, happiness (eudaimonia in Greek) is the highest good of human beings, the end toward which all lesser ends are aiming, and something which doesn’t promote any good higher than itself… read analysis of Happiness

Virtue

Aristotle sees the intended function of a human being as the activity of the soul in accord with reason, and virtue is a state whereby a person performs that intended function well. A state is… read analysis of Virtue
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Habituation

Habituation is the “repetition of similar activities” which, when practiced consistently throughout one’s life, results in a state of character, or virtue. For example, just as someone becomes a harpist by practicing the harp… read analysis of Habituation

State

A state is a disposition, formed through habituation, to act in a certain way. It is more than just a feeling or habit, though; it also involves desires and decision. All these factors, when… read analysis of State

Mean

The mean is an intermediate state between an excess and a deficiency. For example, bravery is the mean between rashness and cowardice. Determining the mean is key to the practice of virtue. The mean… read analysis of Mean

Fine

Aristotle often uses the term “fine” to describe something that is done rightly and correctly; the term even has connotations of beauty and admirability. Fineness is associated with the virtues; a virtuous person decides… read analysis of Fine

Prudence

Prudence is a prerequisite to virtue. Aristotle defines prudence as the ability to “deliberate finely […] about what sorts of things promote living well in general.” In other words, discerning the mean in a… read analysis of Prudence

Continence / Incontinence

Continence is a prerequisite to virtue, and incontinence is an impediment to it. The person who is “incontinent” lacks self-restraint or mastery over one’s nonrational desires. Such a person might have the ability to… read analysis of Continence / Incontinence

Friendship

Aristotle defines friendship as “reciprocated goodwill.” While it involves affection for another person, the best kind of friendship is especially characterized by the desire for the other person’s good, for that person’s own sake… read analysis of Friendship