The Nicomachean Ethics – Aristotle

220px-Aristotle_Altemps_Inv8575The Nicomachean Ethics are a collection of 10 books, based on Aristotle’s lectures, each outlining a different area of ethics. Aristotle was one of the first philosophers to write on the subject of ethics, and how this was practically applicable. This is considered to be one of the most important philosophical texts, being read by Medieval philosophers and as such becoming a basis for much European law and modern philosophy.

Throughout this work Aristotle discusses various aspects of human ethics, including who should study ethics, and how ethics are able to be used in everyday life. We learn what Aristotle believed to be an ethical lifestyle, and how these virtuous aspects of life can be used to make oneself a virtuous person. In the text Aristotle uses the idea of building a virtuous character through righteous actions, by being virtuous humans can achieve happiness.

This book did take me a while to read; the subject matter isn’t the most enthralling, but it is a very interesting read. I did enjoy the lay out, each book has smaller sections made up of a small number of paragraphs which allows the reader to digest each point before moving onto the next one. It is worth reading the appendices and footnotes properly to get a full understanding of the text, especially useful in my edition was the translation of Greek terminology, some of which do not have a direct English translation.

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