Aristotle – The Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle – The Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle’s major work on ethics. It was named for either Aristotle’s son or father, who were both named Nicomachus. Basically lecture notes from his classes, this later work supersedes the earlier Eudemian Ethics. The major theme here is the golden mean. Courage lies between cowardice and rashness; liberality lies between being a cheapskate and a spendthrift; moderation in all things.

Aristotle’s views on slavery, women, and a few other topics show this work’s age. But the overall impression is one of human decency, if with a somewhat stiff and formal demeanor. Closely connected with The Politics, which was written later, The Nicomachean Ethics focuses mostly on the individual and those close to him. The Politics applies similar thinking outward to larger social and political life. Unlike many modern political combatants, Aristotle thought ethics and politics to be related.

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