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Nicomachean Ethics


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Nicomachean Ethics translated by Joe Sachs

Book 1

1 - The ends of master arts are more worthy of choice. That is, the wider field encompasses more, so it is more worthy of choice.

2 – The city is more complete to achieve and preserve. Aristotle is describing how in his view, living in the city is a more complete human life, especially to achieve and preserve it.

5 – There are 3 ways of life: enjoyment, politics, contemplation. But this seems to leave out arts like medicine and carpentry?

6 – One form of good is what is pursued for its own sake. So that means there will be good in itself, and useful things. But not all things are good in the same form like with pleasure or honor.

7 – Happiness is life consisting of how humans are at work.

8 - Virtue should be pleasant in itself in the way that one is pleased by what they are passionately devoted to. One should be devoted to virtue.

10 – Something beautiful shines through when one bears misfortune. That is, those who act in the most beautiful way possible given the circumstances.

13 - The vegetative part could not be part of human intellect because it is especially active during sleep.

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Book II

3 – Virtue is an attitude to that produces the best actions, concerning pleasure and pain.

The beautiful, the advantageous, and the pleasant lead to choice. The ugly, the harmful, and the painful lead to avoidance.

4 – Virtue is not just acting in a way that a virtuous person acts, but doing it in the right way (knowingly for their own sake being in a stable condition). 

6 – Virtues are active conditions that make a human being good, from which they are at work well. When a person is at-work well according to being human, then they are made good by their active condition.

In terms for what is best and what is done well, virtue is an extreme. Virtue does not always involve a need beyond itself.

Book III

1 – To endure terrifying things without pain is courage, but with pain is cowardice. 

Acting on ignorance is unwilling when the person is regretful; acting on ignorance is willing otherwise. 

Ignorance of advantage is not unwilling, it is actually primarily depravity. I'm not sure what this means, but it seems to me depravity in the sense of having no use of reason with regard to the advantage.

2 – Choice is a type of willing. Choice is for the means to an end, wishing is for the end. 

6 - Courageous people give up hope of safety, but not like those who are hopeful, because of experience.

7 - Courageous people endure things because it is beautiful to do so, or because not doing so is shameful

8 - Being driven out to danger because of pain is not courage. This is about passion, not beauty. It would be much like a bull angered by a red cape, or a boar chasing a hunter after being stabbed.

Book IV

1 – Those who exceed in receiving take money from everywhere without regard for where it comes from. This would apparently be people who don't have regard for the source of things, like people who were born into wealth but never bothered to learn about attaining that wealth.

2 – The vulgar spend a lot on small occasions. This would be portrayals of rich people in circumstances like a giant feast for breakfast on just a normal day.

3 – If being great-souled is being worthy of what is greatest, then what is greatest in each virtue would belong to them.

Great-souled people are inclined to do favors of greater worth in return. They don't simply want to return a favor of equal worth, but beyond that.

5 – Bitter people carry a burden because they are not open about it, and no one can persuade them as a result. Of course you can't persuade someone about a burden when they can't even share that there is one.

9 - A decent person does not willingly do bad things, so they don’t feel ashamed. A sense of shame for decent people is therefore hypothetical. After all, in this way, if a decent person knows which actions would cause a sense of shame, they would not willingly perform these actions in the first place. People who are not decent I don't think would consider what their actions would cause, so they could actually feel shame.

Book V

1 – Aristotle treats justice as complete virtue because it can be used in relation to someone else. This seems to be justice as in the law and community. He does not seem to be talking about justice in terms of how to treat friends according to what they deserve.

2 – Bad consequences to another person as a result of vice is an incomplete example of justice.

5 – A city that does not pay back evil seems to be slavery, while not paying back good prevents exchange. I'm thinking that if bad things are not dealt with, then the people of the city are at the mercy of that evil. Not paying back good things would make outside people less willing to trade since full benefit cannot be gained from that trade.

Communities arise from trade that is equalized. This creates the need for currency.

9 – Injustice is never willing because no one wishes for injustice, and no one acts contrary to their wishes.

You can’t do injustice to yourself because if you want to be unjust towards yourself, it wouldn’t really be injustice, but harm. 

11 – Aristotle thinks that suicide is injustice to the city.

According to him, you actually can commit injustice towards yourself by means of the irrational part of the soul in relation to the rational part.

Book VI

2 – Choice is desire plus rational understanding for the sake of something.

3 – Examples are a source of universals. In a way, universals are made up of examples, and the examples are the things being universalized. Universals are not completely separate from examples in the real world.

5 – Practical judgment is deliberating well about good and advantageous things. People don’t deliberate about what can be otherwise, so it is not knowledge, at least by Aristotle's definition of knowledge. It is not art because it is not about making. It reveals truth actively with reason, and concerns action. 

7 – Knowledge and intellect are directed at the most honorable things. Practical judgment is about human good, not necessarily what is most honorable in existence. Practical judgment isn't about what a super human would do, or anything else that is not human.

9 – People don’t deliberate about what they know.

12 – Health produces health in the sense that health is active and at work. Practical judgment is the same way. 


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Book VII

2 – Impasses about self-restraint

3 - Unrestraint comes from not actively knowing. I find that this implies lack of mindfulness leads to lack of restraint. 

Also, universal conception makes it possible for particular desires to take the lead because it can set in motion each part of the body. But this is vague to me, perhaps it means that knowledge in the best sense is how one can create purposeful desires, because universal conception is the way any person sets themselves in motion best. 

6 – Desire takes the place of a missing premise. After all, desire is a reason for acting, but doesn't necessarily stem from thinking, especially when there is no premise from thinking. Spiritedness is to act on an implied premise. This would mean that it stems from something thought of or deliberated about.

8 – Impulsive people are better than those who have reason but don’t stick to it.

9 – It is not unrestraint to not stand firm because of a beautiful pleasure.

10 – Unrestraint is like a city with laws of serious worth but doesn’t use them. Vice is like a city that uses vicious laws.

13 - Aristotle says that it is nonsense to say that a person is happy if he is a good person even when being tortured.

14 – There can be excess pleasure and good for the body, in the sense of enjoyable food. With pain, people avoid all of it, not just an excess. 


3 – Wishing good things for friends for their own sake is the best because those that wish it want it for themselves.

7 – Friendship is primarily in accord with amount, than what is deserved. Justice is the opposite.

11 – Friendship shows itself to the extent justice does, in each constitution.

12 – Human beings live together not just for offspring like animals, but also for the things that go to life.  This place is each person’s work into common supply.

Book IX

4 – Corrupt people look for others so that they can run away from themselves. When alone they have uncomfortable recollections but forget when with others.

7 – The work of someone who makes something endures.

8 - The great-soul is a self-lover. 

9 - A person of serious worth needs people to be good to, so happy people need friends.

Awareness that you are alive is pleasant in itself. This happens when you are at work perceiving or thinking. 

Book X

2 - When pleasure is added to something good, that thing becomes more choiceworthy. But adding to pleasure does not make pleasure more choiceworthy.

4 – Pleasure seems to be always complete. Even if pleasure can increase and decrease over time, it isn't as though pleasure is gradually built like a house.

The senses produce a kind to pleasure, so the senses that are the most complete and at-work are the most pleasant. Pleasures weaken when one is not at full concentration with their senses.

7 - Happiness is the being-at-work of virtue, so the virtue of the best part in man brings the most happiness. But this is only true to the extent that the divine is present.

One should strive to be as close to immortal and the most powerful in oneself.

8 – Contemplation does not require things in the way generosity requires money. So complete happiness is contemplation.

Happiness belongs to something the more it has the capacity to contemplate.  

9 - Habits are like soil that nourishes seeds. 

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