The Nicomachean Ethics Quotes by Aristotle
Aristotle's Ethics: (1/8) Overview
One leading commentator says you could easily think of Aristotle as a supercilious prig. Even so, in these two lectures I need to explore a little with you Aristotle's contribution to ethics. Because, prig or not, supercilious or not, nobody has been more influential. He has been influential partly because he is ambiguous, is capable of many readings. For example, he is claimed today as the progenitor of a contemporary approach to ethics, and one that is fashionable, called 'Virtue Ethics'. I will return to this tomorrow. But I like him because of the way he sometimes looks at human beings as animals , and tries to think of ethics from that point of view.
Aristotelian Virtue Et To seek virtue for the sake of reward is to dig for iron with a spade of gold. It is fitting, therefore, that his moral philosophy is based around assessing the broad characters of human beings rather than assessing singular acts in isolation. Aristotle was a teleologist because he believed that every object has what he referred to as a final cause. The Greek term telos refers to what we might call a purpose, goal, end or true final function of an object. Every object has this type of a true function and so every object has a way of achieving goodness. The telos of a chair, for example, may be to provide a seat and a chair is a good chair when it supports the curvature of the human bottom without collapsing under the strain.
From the SparkNotes Blog
Aristotle conceives of ethical theory as a field distinct from the theoretical sciences. Its methodology must match its subject matter—good action—and must respect the fact that in this field many generalizations hold only for the most part. We study ethics in order to improve our lives, and therefore its principal concern is the nature of human well-being. Aristotle follows Socrates and Plato in taking the virtues to be central to a well-lived life. Like Plato, he regards the ethical virtues justice, courage, temperance and so on as complex rational, emotional and social skills. But he rejects Plato's idea that to be completely virtuous one must acquire, through a training in the sciences, mathematics, and philosophy, an understanding of what goodness is. What we need, in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which such goods as friendship, pleasure, virtue, honor and wealth fit together as a whole.
Like many Greeks, Aristotle did not believe in the existence of inherently bad behaviors. A behavior cannot be either good or evil, but a person can have good or bad character traits. Aristotle said that all people are composed of a combination of vice bad character traits and virtue good character traits. He uses this concept to explain the thesis: Virtue is a disposition concerned with choice. This is explained in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. However, the thesis cannot be understood without an understanding of what exactly a disposition is.