Week 11 - Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
Andrew Komasinski, PhD
Hokkaido University of Education
Vocabulary to Look up
Function (n)
Tutor (v)
Typo (n)
Rhetoric (n)
Phenomenon (n)
Bridle (n)
Cultivated (adj)
Subordinate (adj)
Gratification (n)
Vulgar (adj)
Achievable (adj)
Craft (n)
Horsemanship (n)
Words I will explain
Academy (n)
Metaphysics (n)
The good (n)
The highest good (n)
End (n)
Telos (n)
Virtue (n)
Who was Aristotle 1
日本語: アリストテレ
ス 384–322 B.C.E.
He was born in:
He studied at Plato’s
Academy from age 17
until Plato died in 347
Who was Aristotle 2
• After Plato died, he went and studied
biology for five years in other parts of
Greece and Turkey.
• He tutored Alexander the Great for about
two years.
• He married Pythias and had a daughter
named Pythias (not a typo)
• Aristotle returned to Athens in 335BCE (12
years after he left).
Who was Aristotle 3
In Athens, he started his own school to
rival the Academy – the Lyceum
He had another child with a woman
named Herpyllis named Nicomachus 
Nicomachean Ethics.
He wrote about 200 books (we have 31
What we have are lecture notes.
Aristotle’s Writings
Aristotle wrote about everything:
• Raising Animals, Biology, Physics
• Politics (Government), Ethics
• Rhetoric, Poetry, Literary
Interpretation (文学解釈)
• Logic
• Metaphysics (形而上学)
Aristotle’s Pattern
• Define the topic
• Look at phenomenon and popular
• Figure out which opinions to pay
attention to
• Argue for what he thinks is best
Aristotle’s Argument in the NE
Aristotle first claims:
“Every craft and every line of inquiry, and
likewise every action and decision, seems
to seek some good” (EN 1094a1)
What everything seeks = the good
• Aristotle next talks about a definition:
• “that is why some people were right to
describe the good as what everything
seeks” (1094a2)
• 「善」をもって「万物の希求するところ」と
What does Aristotle mean?
Q: What do you think Aristotle means?
He says “every thing seeks some good”
“the good is what everything seeks”
Two Types of Ends
So far Aristotle has talked about some good =
“But the ends appear to differ” / 種々の場合
 SOME ARE for the activity (活動それ自身)
/ others for an product (成果).
Subordinate and Final Goods
• Aristotle points out the following:
– We make bridles (馬勒)
• for horsemanship (騎馬)
– We study medicine (医療)
• for health (健康)
– We study horsemanship (騎馬)
• for war (統帥)
–The “for” is more imporant
The Highest Good: 1
The Highest Good 2
The Highest Good 3
The Highest Good 4
• An end for two things is bigger than an end for
one thing
• An end for twenty things is bigger than an end
for two things.
 The good for a city is bigger than good for
one person.
• What Aristotle calls The Highest Good is the
good that covers everything.
Aristotle’s Highest Good 5
But what makes an end bigger for Aristotle?
“Suppose an action could achieve something we
want for itself, and because of which we wish
for other things …
とき目的 … それ自身のゆえに願望し、その他
Clearly this will be the good, that is to say, the
best good” (1094a18-22)
The Good (文法)
• Normally, good is an adjective.
• In English, we call turning an adjective into a
noun “nominalization” (名詞化).
• Nominalized adjectives mean that thing
– The good = 「善」であり,「最高善」
– The beautiful = 「美」であり
– The ugly = 「醜さ実性」
The good = the best good
• Because of this, the good has the
same meaning as:
–The best good
–The highest good
–The greatest good
We want to know it!
“Then does knowledge of this good carry great
weight for our way of life, and would it make us
better able, like archers who have a target to aim
at, to hit the right mark?” (1095a23-25)
Start 1/22: More Vocabulary
• Political science = 政治
• According to Aristotle this is the largest end of
man (究極目的)
• Convention = 社会慣習
• For the sake of X = Xのためすること
Aristotle’s Answer
• This appears to be “political science”,
because … (1094a30-b10)
–It controls cities
–It manages war
–It manages the economy
–It manages literature
But political science is …
• 曖昧: “Now, fine and just things, which political
science examines, differ and vary so much as to
seem to rest on convention only, not on nature”
• “政治学の考察の対象であるうるわしいことがら
So how can we find the highest good?
Q: If political science is unclear  How can we
find answer?
[Per 1.5]
Some people think good = brave
Some people think good = rich
Some people think good = smart
Aristotle’s Answer
Q: If there are too many different ideas, how
can we pick a good one?
Find the right judge: “Each person judges
rightly what he knows, and is a good judge
about that” 「それぞれ、自分の知っているこ
Who cannot tell us the good?
According to Aristotle, the young:
“This is why a youth is not a suitable student of
political science; for he lacks experience of the
actions in life, which are the subject and premises
of our argument”
Not the Young!
Also, the young are driven by passion:
• “Moreover since he tends to follow his
feelings, his study will be futile and
• 情念に従いやすいため、こうしたことを
Aristotle’s Youth
• For Aristotle, youth does not end at 20
• For Aristotle, you are a youth until you
are about 40.
• Aristotle thinks only those who have
experience can know. (プラトン反対)
What then is the good?
• One name: “happiness”
• “For both the many and the cultivated
call it happiness” / 「一般のひとびとも、
ならないとういであり」 (1095a18)
= Everyone says the answer is happiness.
What is Happiness: Common Opinion
• Aristotle says:
– Most people define it based on what they
need (多数は需要品から定義する):
• Sick  Health
• Poor  Money
• Lonely  Friend / Family /Girlfriend /
What is Happiness: Some Wise Men
Aristotle says the wise define it differently:
• “Some used to think that besides [health,
wealth, etc.] there is some other good that
exists in its own right that causes all these
goods to be goods” (1095a25)
• 一部の智者たちは、このような多くの善のほ
Why Happiness?
• When we want health, we want it to
live happily
• When we want money, we want it to
live happily
• When we want friends, we want
them so we can we live happily.
How to Figure Out Happiness?
Aristotle: we need to cut down what
we look at:
He decides to just look at popular
The Three Ideas of a Good Life
Aristotle looks at three popular ideas for the
good life (1095b14-1096a-11):
• The vulgar say the good life is a life of pleasure
and gratification.
• The cultivated say the good life is a political
life of honor.
• The life of study.
What about Moneymaking?
Aristotle does not think money-making is the
good life:
(1) Money-making is always for something else
(2) The good life is something we want for itself
Ergo, money-making is not the good life.
How can we find a good we can agree
“But let us return once again to the good we are
looking for, and consider just what it could be.
For it is apparently, one thing in one action and
craft, and another thing in another” (1097a15)
“For the sake of”
(1)Actions are done for the sake of the
end of the action.
(2)The good of the action is the reason
we do an action (定義)
What sort of “good”?
“we choose some [ends] (for instance, wealth,
flutes, and in general instruments) because of
something else, it is clear that not all ends are
complete.” (1097a23)
What sort of “good” 2?
• “We say that an end pursued in its own right is
more complete than an end pursued because of
something else …
=他のものを追求するもの < それ自身追求するもの
• and that an end is never choice-worthy because of
something else is more complete than ends that are
choice-worthy both in their own right and because
of this end” (1097a31-33)
=他のものを値することきもの < 単なるそれ値するも
What is the best type of good?
We want a final good – not a subordinate good.
Final = at the end
Subordinate = Less than something else
Final good = good wanted for itself [last end]
Subordinate good = good wanted for something
else [less than last end]
How can we figure out the final good?
“Now happiness, more than anything else, seems
complete without qualification. For we always
choose it because of itself never because of
something else” (1097a34-b2)
=The Thing we want is happiness.
Aristotle’s “Happiness”
The English word “happiness” can have many
meanings: “State of feeling or showing pleasure
or contentment” (Oxford Dictionary).
Feeling (感情)
Aristotle’s word is eudaimonia (専門的言葉)
For Aristotle, “happiness” is NOT a feeling BUT
rather a state of flourishing (繁栄の状態)
NOT Aristotle’s idea of happy: Drunk
Not Aristotle’s Idea of Happy: Stuffed
with food
Aristotle’s Central Image: Happiness in
Aristotle’s Central Image: Happiness in
What does human happiness look like?
Aristotle thinks human happiness has to do with
what it means to be human (人間の定義から人
He means:
(1) The happiness of individuals
(2) who live in society as social animals.
But this does not explain what makes us happy…
Aristotle’s Idea of Happiness
For Aristotle, happiness has to do with being the
best human you can be:
• “Perhaps, then, we shall find this if we first
grasp the function of a human being.”
• このことは、おそらく、人間の機能の何たるが
The Good matches the function
The good of a thing matches its function:
For just as the good, i.e. [doing well], for a flute
player, a sculptor, and every craftsman and
anything that has a function depends on the
function, the same seems to be true for a human
being …” (1097a25-28)
Aristotle: Function and Happiness
Aristotle: Function and Happiness
Aristotle: Function and Happiness
Aristotle: Function and Happiness
Aristotle: Function and Happiness
What does flourishing look like?
• For a flying squirrel:
–Friends (flying squirrel and/or human)
Human happiness
For Aristotle, we can figure out human happiness …
if we can understand the function of a human being:
“What then could this be? We are alive like plants,
but what we are looking for is the special function of
a human; hence we set aside nutrition and growth
… and we set aside [perception that we share with
animals] ” (1098a)
人間に特有の機能である … 食養摂取とか生育とか
… [また感覚をおく]。
Aristotle’s Answer
“We take the human function to be a certain kind of
life and take this to be the activity and actions of
the soul that involve reason; hence the function of
the excellent man is to do this well and finely”
The “Telos” of a thing
In Greek, one word for end is “telos” (the other
word is “entelechy.” The word “telos” has a special
meaning = the purpose of a thing.
According to Aristotle, living for the telos of a thing
is what gives happiness.
Believing things have this sort of purpose (目的) is
called teleology.
Paper Topic for the Final
• For this class, your final paper is to share your
opinion about human knowledge.
• In it, you need to discuss either
– Socrates (from the Apology) = “the wisest is to know
that we cannot know”
– Plato (from the Crito) = “wisdom is to pursue truth not
mass opinion”
– Aristotle = we know by observation (監視)
– Aristotle = the young cannot know
– Aristotle = knowledge is about figuring out what sort
of thing a thing is
Reports: Details
sent to me via e-mail: komasinski.andrew@a.hokkyodai.ac.jp
• 1 page A4
• Grading:
– Length
… Is it really at least one page?
– Content … Does it show you understood the lectures?
– Insight
… Do you add any of your own thoughts?
– Grammar … Does the content make sense?
Reports: E-mail
sent to me via e-mail:
• Address me as “Dr. K” in the e-mail
• Include sentences at the top:
I am Hiroshi Abe. I am a student in 人文科学入門.
My student number is c30000ah. I have attached
my report.
• 基本的1月29日(来週の木曜日)は締め
• しかし、質問がある生徒はその代わりに