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Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics [Kindle Edition]

Aristotle , ezra delucas
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 411 KB
  • Print Length: 278 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0084ZTFSQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #350,578 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have glanced through tis book but I have not read it, but I know the book and will read it in the near future, I am happy to give it 4 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.2 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Right next to the ROT for my purposes. 24 Aug 2012
By The Great Penguin Adventure - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I'll spare you my thoughts on the Nicomachean Ethics. I'll spare you my thoughts on Aristotle. If you've gotten this far in your search for a copy of the text, then you probably don't need to be told how wonderful Aristotle is. I'll just assume for the sake of my review that you're looking at various translations, perhaps because you don't read Greek and can't do your own. The revised Oxford translation is preferred by many of my colleagues. The Hackett, which was my first edition of the Nicomachean Ethics, seems to be generally regarded as inferior to the ROT. I still have a soft spot for aspects of Irwin's translation, but I don't use it when I'm writing and I don't use it to check my own translations. There are a couple of other newer translations floating around (Broadie and Rowe, Bartlett and Collins) but I have very limited experience with them.

Crisp has done a wonderful job here, I think. The translation is very readable and he only rarely follows the general trend of trying to inject debatably anachronistic philosophy into the text (I was a bit disappointed to see Crisp opt for "supervene" in X, but basically everyone perhaps he can't be faulted). It really seems to me that "follows on" does the same work without the philosophical baggage...but, hey, why not do your own translation, right? Aristotle's arguments, especially in the later books, are often paragraph-long syllogisms and Crisp keeps things focused and as manageable as possible.

I purchased this for a two-person reading group. We were using the ROT as our baseline and I was reading the Crisp as a supplement and for the sake of checking spots that seemed particularly sticky. I think we agreed that depending on what you're hoping to find in the reading, you might prefer one translation over the other for purposes of supporting a particular line of argument, etc. If you're just reading the EN for the first time, or reading it for a seminar, I doubt you will find much to quibble with here.

Overall there were just as many times over the course of the group that we felt Crisp bested the ROT as there were times the opposite was true.

Not for the totally uninitiated, in my opinion. Crisp's Cambridge edition does not include notes. The recent Brown revision of the ROT has very useful notes and won't let you down for most purposes.

I'm trying to think of a nice way to sum things up...chances are if you're buying this one of the following is the case:
a) it's been assigned for a class and this was the specified edition. If so, great, I don't think you're being led in the wrong direction and you'll find Crisp very readable.

b) you're doing some research on Aristotle, Aristotle's ethics, or virtue ethics in general. Unless you're reading Aristotle's philosophy for the first time, you can probably get by without any this edition would serve you well.

c) you're just awesome all on your own and want to read Aristotle and, in particular, one of the most important and best works of philosophy ever written (oops, looks like I ended up gushing in my review after all). This is a really fine edition and I wouldn't steer anyone away from it. However, if you haven't read much philosophy you might really like having notes on difficult passages and technical terms (Crisp does have a brief glossary here, but no notes). If so, I would suggest Brown's revision of the ROT.

d) you're a graduate student and you want to compare various available translations, or compare various existing translations against your own. I think having Crisp alongside the ROT is a great combination. Then again, if this is you, you probably don't need my recommendation.

UPDATE: The other participant in my reading group reminded me of one other important (missing) feature in the Crisp edition: Crisp has included Bekker page numbers and columns, but no line numbers. At times this made getting to the same line a small hassle. It doesn't change my rating, but it is worth noting.
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the dollar! 6 Feb 2014
By Rachael - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my ethics class. Instead of paying like $12 for the physical book, I got this for a dollar. Interesting and good for the class. Only complaint is that this translation doesn't have the titles that the physical book does.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Printing error makes for a confusing read 13 Jan 2014
By Maria - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book was required for the class I'm taking. The price was good, especially compared to college bookstores. However, there was a printing error in my copy, so I can't give it a higher rating. Pages 55-86 are flipped, so reading it straight through requires a lot of effort. It also really complicates class discussions for me, which require a lot of flipping through the text while still paying attention to what is going on.
12 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Doing the right thing 11 Sep 2005
By FrKurt Messick - Published on
Aristotle was a philosopher in search of the chief good for human beings. This chief good is eudaimonia, which is often translated as 'happiness' (but can also be translated as 'thriving' or 'flourishing'). Aristotle sees pleasure, honour and virtue as significant 'wants' for people, and then argues that virtue is the most important of these.

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes the claim that happiness is something which is both precious and final. This seems to be so because it is a first principle or ultimate starting point. For, it is for the sake of happiness that we do everything else, and we regard the cause of all good things to be precious and divine. Moreover, since happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with complete and perfect virtue, it is necessary to consider virtue, as this will be the best way of studying happiness.

How many of us today speak of happiness and virtue in the same breath? Aristotle's work in the Nicomachean Ethics is considered one of his greatest achievements, and by extension, one of the greatest pieces of philosophy from the ancient world. When the framers of the American Declaration of Independence were thinking of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there is little doubt they had an acquaintance with Aristotle's work connecting happiness, virtue, and ethics together.

When one thinks of ethical ideas such as an avoidance of extremes, of taking the tolerant or middle ground, or of taking all things in moderation, one is tapping into Aristotle's ideas. It is in the Nicomachean Ethics that Aristotle proposes the Doctrine of the Mean - he states that virtue is a 'mean state', that is, it aims for the mean or middle ground. However, Aristotle is often misquoted and misinterpreted here, for he very quickly in the text disallows the idea of the mean to be applied in all cases. There are things, actions and emotions, that do not allow the mean state. Thus, Aristotle tends to view virtue as a relative state, making the analogy with food - for some, two pounds of meat might be too much food, but for others, it might be too little. The mean exists between the state of deficiency, too little, and excessiveness, too much.

Aristotle proposes many different examples of virtues and vices, together with their mean states. With regard to money, being stingy and being illiberal with generosity are the extremes, the one deficient and the other excessive. The mean state here would be liberality and generosity, a willingness to buy and to give, but not to extremes. Anger, too, is highlighted as having a deficient state (too much passivity), an excessive state (too much passion) and a mean state (a gentleness but firmness with regard to emotions).

Aristotle states that one of the difficulties with leading a virtuous life is that it takes a person of science to find the mean between the extremes (or, in some cases, Aristotle uses the image of a circle, the scientist finding the centre). Many of us, being imperfect humans, err on one side or the other, choosing in Aristotle's words, the lesser of two evils. Aristotle's wording here, that a scientist is the only one fully capable of virtue, has a different meaning for scientist - this is a pre-modern, pre-Enlightenment view; for Aristotle, the person of science is one who is capable of observation and calculation, and this can take many different forms.

Aristotle uses different kinds of argumentation in the Nicomachean Ethics. He uses a dialectical method, as well as a functional method. In the dialectical method, there are opposing ideas held in tension, whose interactions against each other yield a result - this is often how the mean between extremes is derived. However, there are other times that Aristotle seems to prefer a more direct, functional approach. Both of these methods lead to the same understanding for Aristotle's sense of the rational - that humanity's highest or final good is happiness.

There is a discussion of the human soul (for this is where virtue and happiness reside). Aristotle argues that virtue is not a natural state; we are not born with nor do we acquire through any natural processes virtue, but rather through 'habitation', an embedding process or enculturation that makes these a part of our soul. However, it is not sufficient for Aristotle's virtue that one merely function as a virtuous person or that virtuous things be done. This is not a skill, but rather an art, and to be virtuous, one must live virtuously and act virtuously with intention as well as form.

Of course, one of the implications here is that virtue is a quantifiable thing, that periodically resurfaces in later philosophies. How do we calculate virtue?

This is a difficult question, and not one that Aristotle answers in any definitive way. However, more important than this is the key difference that Aristotle displayed setting himself apart from his tutor Plato; rather than seeing the possession of 'the good' or 'virtue' as the highest ideal, Aristotle is concerned with the practical aspects, the ethics of this. Based on Aristotle's lectures in Athens in the fourth century BCE, this remains one of the most important works on ethical and moral philosophy in history.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ARISTOTLE NICOMACHEAN ETHICS 8 Feb 2013
By K. Grubaugh - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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