Nicomachean Ethics

by

Aristotle

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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. Happiness shouldn’t be equated with an emotion or simply with pleasure; rather, it’s living well. Happiness is achieved by practicing the virtues.

Happiness Quotes in Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics quotes below are all either spoken by Happiness or refer to Happiness. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hackett edition of Nicomachean Ethics published in 1999.
Book 3 Quotes

And so, if the same is true for bravery, the brave person will find death and wounds painful, and suffer them unwillingly, but he will endure them because that is fine or because failure is shameful. Indeed, the truer it is that he has every virtue and the happier he is, the more pain he will feel at the prospect of death. For this sort of person, more than anyone, finds it worthwhile to be alive, and knows he is being deprived of the greatest goods, and this is painful. But he is no less brave for all that; presumably, indeed, he is all the braver, because he chooses what is fine in war at the cost of all these goods. It is not true, then, in the case of every virtue that its active exercise is pleasant; it is pleasant only insofar as we attain the end.

Related Characters: Aristotle (speaker)
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
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Happiness Term Timeline in Nicomachean Ethics

The timeline below shows where the term Happiness appears in Nicomachean Ethics. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
...is this highest good that political science seeks? Most people would agree that it is happiness, but they disagree about what happiness consists of. Aristotle says that to determine this, it’s... (full context)
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
...for the sake of something else. The thing that seems complete without anything else is happiness, “for we always choose it because of itself, never because of something else.” In contrast,... (full context)
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
Book 1, Chapter 8. Happiness also requires the addition of certain external resources, such as friends, wealth, or political power.... (full context)
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Book 1, Chapter 9. How is happiness acquired? Though it’s reasonable to say that happiness may be gifted by the gods in... (full context)
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Book 1, Chapters 12-13. Because happiness is an activity of the soul in accord with complete virtue, Aristotle reasons that one... (full context)
Book 7
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
...because virtues have to do with pain and pleasure, and most people associate pleasure with happiness. While some argue that pleasure is not a good at all, Aristotle argues that just... (full context)
Book 9
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
Book 9, Chapter 9. It might be asked whether a happy person needs friends or not, since he is assumed to be self-sufficient. But if having... (full context)
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
Aristotle explains that the happy person finds pleasure in the actions of other excellent people, and it’s easier to pursue... (full context)
Book 10
Virtues and the Mean Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
Book 10, Chapter 6. Since happiness is the end of human striving, it’s necessary to discuss the nature of happiness a... (full context)
The Nature and Pursuit of Happiness Theme Icon
Virtue and Community Life Theme Icon
The Political Life vs. the Contemplative Life Theme Icon
Aristotle notes that since it’s the case that happiness is activity in accord with virtue, it must accord with the supreme virtue, which is... (full context)