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[Aristotle,_Roger_Crisp]_Nicomachean_Ethics_(Cambr(BookFi)

Nicomachean Ethics arguments, then, seem to be the most useful, not only in the acquisition of knowledge, but in how we live. For since they are in harmony with the facts, they are believed, and for that reason they spur those who understand them to live in accordance with them. Enough of such matters, then; let us consider the views that have been expressed about pleasure. Chapter 2 Eudoxus thought pleasure was the good because he saw that all things, whether rational or not, aim at it. And in everything, he says, what is worthy of choice is good, and what is most worthy of choice is best; thus the fact that everything is borne towards the same thing shows that this is what is best for all, since each thing ®nds its own good, as it ®nds its own food; and that which is good for all things and at which all aim is the good. His arguments were accepted more because of the virtue of his character than on their own account. For since he seemed remarkably temperate, it seemed that he was not saying these things because he was a friend of pleasure, but that this was really how things were. He thought that the matter was just as clear if one considered it from the opposite point of view. Pain, he thought, is in itself something to be avoided by all, and therefore, similarly, its contrary is something to be chosen by all. What is the most worth choosing is what we choose neither because of nor for the sake of something else. And everyone agrees that pleasure is like this, since no one asks for justi®cation of anyone's being pleased, on the assumption that pleasure is worthy of choice in itself. He said too that pleasure, when it is added to any other good, such as acting in a just or temperate manner, makes the other good more worthy of choice; and that the good is increased by the addition of itself. This last argument, at least, seems to represent it as one good among others, and no more a good than any other, because any good thing is more worthy of choice when another good is added to it than it is on its own. Indeed, it is with an argument like this that Plato destroys the claim of pleasure to be the good: 77 the life of pleasure is more worthy of 77 Plato, Philebus 60c±61a. 184

Book X choice with the addition of intelligence than without it, and if the mixture is better, pleasure is not the good, because the good cannot become more worthy of choice by anything's being added to it. And clearly nothing else can be the good either, if it becomes more worthy of choice with the addition of anything that is good in itself. What, then, is there that is like this, and that we share in? This is what we are looking for. People who object that what all things aim at is not good are talking nonsense: whatever seems to all to be the case, we say is the case. And the person who attacks this belief will not generally have anything more convincing to say. If it were creatures without intellect that desired pleasures, there might be something in what they said; but if intelligent beings do so as well, what sense can be made of it? Presumably even in the lower animals there is some element better than themselves that aims at their proper good. Nor does the argument about the contrary of pleasure seem plausible. They say that if pain is an evil, it does not follow that pleasure is a good, because evil is also opposed to evil, and both are opposed to what is neither good nor evil. This is fair enough, but is not true in the case we are discussing. For if both were evils, they ought both to be things to be avoided, and if neither is an evil, neither ought to be something to be avoided, or they should be so to the same extent. But people manifestly avoid the one as an evil, and choose the other as a good; so this is the way they are opposed to one another. 1173a Chapter 3 Again, if pleasure is not a quality, this does not prevent its being a good, because the activities of virtue are not qualities either; nor is happiness. But they say that the good is determinate, whereas pleasure is indeterminate, since it admits of degrees. If they make this judgement on the basis of the experience of pleasure, the same will apply in the cases of justice and the other virtues. In respect of these, people are plainly said to have a certain character, and to act in accordance with the virtues, to a greater or lesser degree, since people can be more just or more courageous, and one can act in a just or temperate way to a greater or lesser degree. But if their judgement is based on the pleasures, surely they are not 185

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