The Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics

‘One swallow does not make a summer; neither does one day. Similarly neither can one day, or a brief space of time, make a man blessed and happy’In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sets out to examine the nature of happiness. He argues that happiness consists in ‘activity of the soul in accordance with virtue’, for example with moral virtues, such as courage, generosity a...

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Title:The Nicomachean Ethics
Author:Aristotle
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The Nicomachean Ethics Reviews

  • Mandi

    Aristotle doesn't satisfy your whole soul, just the logical side, but here he is quite thorough. The Nicomachean Ethics is his most important study of personal morality and the ends of human life. He does little more than search for and examine the "good." He examines the virtue and vices of man in all his faculties. He believes that the unexamined life is a life not worth living; happiness is the contemplation of the good and the carrying out of virtue with solid acts. Among this book's most ou

    Aristotle doesn't satisfy your whole soul, just the logical side, but here he is quite thorough. The Nicomachean Ethics is his most important study of personal morality and the ends of human life. He does little more than search for and examine the "good." He examines the virtue and vices of man in all his faculties. He believes that the unexamined life is a life not worth living; happiness is the contemplation of the good and the carrying out of virtue with solid acts. Among this book's most outstanding features are Aristotle's insistence that there are no known absolute moral standards and that any ethical theory must be based in part on an understanding of psychology and firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life. Though the over 100 chapters (divided into ten books) flow and build upon each other, you can benefit from reading just one of them. One of my favorite philosophical reads, I cannot say enough for the depth of insight Aristotle has into living the "good" life.

  • Glenn Russell

    Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle postulates the highest human good is eudaimonia or what is loosely translated into English as happiness. And a substantial component in the path to such human happiness is acting with the appropriate virtues over the course of an entire lifetime. The details of these Aristotelean teachings form the Nicomachean Ethics, one of the most influential works in the entire history of Western Civilization.

    As a way of sharing but a small example of Aristotle’s extensiv

    Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle postulates the highest human good is eudaimonia or what is loosely translated into English as happiness. And a substantial component in the path to such human happiness is acting with the appropriate virtues over the course of an entire lifetime. The details of these Aristotelean teachings form the Nicomachean Ethics, one of the most influential works in the entire history of Western Civilization.

    As a way of sharing but a small example of Aristotle’s extensive philosophy outlined in these pages, I will focus on Book IV Chapter 8 where the eminent Greek philosopher addresses the virtue of being witty, sensitive to others, discerning and perceptive, particularly when we are at our leisure. Here are six Aristotle quotes and my brief accompanying comments:

    “Since life includes rest as well as activity, and in this is included leisure and amusement, there seems here also to be a kind of intercourse which is tasteful; there is such a thing as saying- and again listening to- what one should and as one should.”--------- Aristotle’s focus on time spent outside of work, what we nowadays refer to as ‘leisure time’, makes this section of his ethical teachings particularly relevant for us today, most especially since we are bombarded by a nonstop barrage of advertisements, store signs, billboards, Muzak, etc. etc., some subtle, many not so subtle.

    “The kind of people one is speaking to or listening to will also make a difference.” --------- Very important who we associate with both at work and outside of work. Aristotle is optimistic that we can actively participate in society and exercise discrimination as we develop wisdom to speak as we should and listen as we should. In contrast, another Greek philosopher, Epicurus, was not so optimistic on this point. Epicurus judged conventional society as blind and dumb, particularly as it pertains to men and women expounding values regarding such things as riches and fame and what constitutes our true human needs. The answer for Epicurus: withdraw into a separate community with like-minded friends and philosophers.

    “Regarding people’s views on humor there is both an excess and a deficiency as compared with the mean. Those who carry humor to excess are thought to be vulgar buffoons, striving after humor at all costs, and aiming rather at raising a laugh than at saying what is becoming and at avoiding pain to the object of their fun while those who can neither make a joke themselves nor put up with those who do are thought to be boorish and unpolished.” -------- Sounds like Aristotle attended the same junior high school and high school as I did. Again, he is optimistic that someone who aspires to philosophic excellence, virtue and the mean (maintaining a middle position between two extremes) can live among buffoons and boors without being pulled down to their level. The question I would pose to Aristotle: What happens when we live in an entire society dominated by vulgar buffoon and uptight boors, where the buffoons and boors set the standards for what it means to be human? Particularly, what happens to the development of children and young adults?

    “But those who joke in a tasteful way are called ready-witted, which implies a sort of readiness to turn this way and that; for such sallies are thought to be movements of the character, and as bodies are discriminated by their movements, so too are characters.” ---------- “I had an opportunity to see the Dalai Lama speak. You will be hard pressed to find someone with a more lively sense of humor. If you haven’t seen him speak, you can check out Youtube.

    “The ridiculous side of things is not far to seek, however, and most people delight more than they should in amusement and in jestingly and so even buffoons are called ready-witted because they are found attractive; but that they differ from the ready-witted man, and to no small extent, is clear from what has been said.” ---------- Ha! So Aristotle sees, in fact, how buffoonery can easily lapse into the social norm. Thus our challenge is how to retain our integrity when surrounded by slobs and buffoons.

    “To the middle state belongs also tact; it is the mark of a tactful man to say and listen to such things as befit a good and well-bred man; for there are some things that it befits such a man to say and to hear by way of jest, and the well-bred man's jesting differs from that of a vulgar man, and the joking of an educated man from that of an uneducated.” ---------- Aristotle’s overarching observation on how the wisdom of the middle way between two extremes applies here – not good acting at either extreme, being a boor or being a buffoon. Unfortunately, speaking and otherwise communicating in a buffoonish or boorish way is in no way restricted to the uneducated or dull – I’ve witnessed numerous instances of buffoonery and boorishness among the highly educated and intellectually astute.

    The entire Nicomachean Ethics is available online:

  • Trevor

    I’m a bit annoyed – I wrote up my review to this last night and thought I’d posted it, but it seems to have gone to god…not happy about that (amusingly enough). This is my reconstruction of last night’s review.

    There is a story that is almost certainly apocryphal about a French woman (in the version I know, this is Madame De Gaulle) who is in England towards the end of her husband’s career and is asked at some sort of official function what she wants most from life. She answers, ‘a penis’ – which

    I’m a bit annoyed – I wrote up my review to this last night and thought I’d posted it, but it seems to have gone to god…not happy about that (amusingly enough). This is my reconstruction of last night’s review.

    There is a story that is almost certainly apocryphal about a French woman (in the version I know, this is Madame De Gaulle) who is in England towards the end of her husband’s career and is asked at some sort of official function what she wants most from life. She answers, ‘a penis’ – which, unsurprisingly, brings a near complete silence over the room, something see seems completely confused by. Charles De Gaulle then says to his wife, ‘I think they pronounce it ‘appiness’, darling’

    Aristotle is writing about how to live a good life – pretty much what ‘ethics’ means – and his answer is that a good life is a happy life. Well, sort of. Actually, the Greek word that is translated as ‘happiness’ here (not unlike Madame De Gaulle’s mis-pronunciation) doesn’t necessarily mean what we would normally take ‘happiness’ to mean. Eudaimonia is made up of two words meaning ‘good’ and ‘soul’, but can also be translated as meaning ‘human flourishing’. Now, if you asked me how I was going and I said, ‘I’m flourishing’, that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘I’m happy’. It is not that the two ideas are a million miles apart, but even Roget would be unlikely to slam them together in his little book of synonyms.

    This is a remarkably practical book – not so much in that it tells you exactly how to behave at all times and in all circumstances, it isn’t practical in that sense, but rather that it sets about giving you tools to help make a rational judgement about how you ought to behave given various circumstances.

    It does this by discussing Aristotle’s ‘doctrine of the mean’. Aristotle says that every virtue falls between to extremes which are excesses of qualities that also go to make up that virtue. So, if you think of courage, for example, it falls between cowardice and foolhardiness. In one case you have an exaggerated regard for your own life (despite being seen as a coward and the likely humiliation that will bring) and in the other you are too prepared to throw your life away and therefore not giving your life its proper value. Now, the point is that Aristotle isn’t saying all that much here about how you might behave in a given situation, but rather giving you guiding lines to watch out for – his point is that if you are called upon to be brave there may be times when it is rational to behave in ways that might otherwise look foolhardy, and at other times in ways that might look cowardly – but a wise and happy person would do so on the basis of a rational assessment of where the mean lies given the time, place and circumstance – and knowing there are extremes you need to avoid is useful here.

    There are bits of this that I found much more annoying this time around than I did when I read it years ago (30 years ago, now – yuck… how did that happen?). In fact, I can’t quite tell if Aristotle has become more reactionary over the years or if I’ve become more progressive – but it’s one or the other.

    For instance, I found a lot of his discussions about women particularly annoying this time around. Take this as a case in point from Book VIII, “Sometimes, however, women rule, because they are heiresses; their rule is thus not in accordance with virtue, but due to wealth and power” (page 157). People will tell you that one of the problems with Aristotle and Plato is the fact that they could never conceive of a society in which there were no slaves – but one of the advantages of Plato is that he did think women could, and probably should, be educated. Aristotle clearly does not – but the point I would really like to make is that he notices when women rule due to their wealth and power, but not when men do the same. Given so many more men rule at all and so many of them rule due to the access their position gives them – it seems an odd thing for someone like Aristotle not to notice.

    Because this is quite a practical ethics, he spends a lot of time talking about the sorts of things people ought to have in their lives to make them happy – and this is why so much of the book is devoted to friendship. I won’t go over his arguments for the various types of friends one might have, but do want to talk about love and lovers. I think I could mount a case for saying that Aristotle is arguing against having a lover. Not that he is advocating a life of celibacy or even of abstinence, but rather that lovers come in what I like to think of as pairs (after McCullers or Somerset Maugham – who both said that there are lovers and the beloved and of the two everyone wants to be the lover, rather than the beloved) – and that since being either the lover or a beloved is basically irrational, given we fall in love by lightning strike as much as anything else, it might stop just as quickly as it all started, and then a lover who doesn’t love any more leaves a beloved who is no longer beloved – not the basis for a lasting relationship. The point being that friendship is based more rationally on mutual benefits and mutual care – if it was me, I’d pick the latter over the former (friendship over love) every time – if these things allowed for choices like that, that is.

    Now, I want to end by quoting a longer bit from Book X (page 200).

    “Some think we become good by nature, some by habit, and others by teaching. Nature's contribution is clearly not in our power, but it can be found in those who are truly fortunate as the result of some divine dispensation. Argument and teaching, presumably, are not powerful in every case, but the soul of the student must be prepared beforehand in its habits, with a view to its enjoying and hating in a noble way, like soil that is to nourish seed. For if someone were to live by his feelings he would not listen to an argument to dissuade him, nor could he even understand it. How can we persuade a person in a state like this to change his ways? And, in general, feelings seem to yield not to argument but to force. There must, therefore, somehow be a pre-existing character with some affinity for virtue through its fondness for what is noble and dislike of what is disgraceful.

    “But if one has not been reared under the right laws it is difficult to obtain from one's earliest years the correct upbringing for virtue, because the masses, especially the young, do not find it pleasant to live temperately and with endurance. For this reason, their upbringing and pursuits should be regulated by laws, because they will not find them painful once they have become accustomed to them.”

    I find this really interesting for a whole range of reasons. Okay, so, he starts off by saying that nature is the main thing to ensure that one is capable of learning – but it is interesting that this alone is not enough. Nature is essential, but left on its own will not get you very far. The other is teaching, but teaching too may not help unless you have been prepared to hear the lesson – something Gramsci talks about at some length saying working class children need to be given discipline (that they are unfamiliar with) if they are to have any hope of succeeding in education. What is stressed here is the development of habits and dispositions and that these are what allows the other two (nature and teaching) to be given any chance of success.

    Aristotle is keen to stress that he is talking about virtues – but again, the Greek word here (arête) doesn’t just mean morally good behaviours, but rather something closer to the excellences that we associate with different kinds of behaviours – so that a fisherman has virtues too, not in the sense of being morally upright, but rather, at knowing what is good for a fisherman to do and be.

    A lot of this reminded me of Pascal’s Pensées. There is a bit in that where Pascal says that happiness really isn’t related to the outcome, but more to the process. That is, that you won’t make a hunter happy by giving him a couple of rabbits at the start of the day and saying to him, ‘now you don’t have to go out hunting today, relax, enjoy yourself’. Rather, even a mangy rabbit caught through the effort of the hunt will be worth more to the hunter than a dozen plump ones handed over without effort at the start of the day. Not always true, of course, but I’m exaggerating to make the point. In a lot of ways that is Aristotle’s ethics – find out what you are meant to do and do that as best you can and that will make you happy – or good souled – or flourishing – one of those.

  • Bruce

    This is a book worth rereading every few years. It is actually lecture notes by one of Aristotle’s students, as are most of the extant writings attributed to Aristotle. Not a work to be rushed through, the

    requires concentration and pondering, work that rewards the effort.

    Aristotle begins by investigating what is good for man, proceeding to examine both moral and intellectual virtues. In each of these areas, he first defines his terms. Then he examines various virtues and vices such as co

    This is a book worth rereading every few years. It is actually lecture notes by one of Aristotle’s students, as are most of the extant writings attributed to Aristotle. Not a work to be rushed through, the

    requires concentration and pondering, work that rewards the effort.

    Aristotle begins by investigating what is good for man, proceeding to examine both moral and intellectual virtues. In each of these areas, he first defines his terms. Then he examines various virtues and vices such as courage, temperance, justice, and others. Next he discusses the differences between philosophic and practical wisdom before he turns to continence, incontinence, and pleasure. Finally, he includes a long section on friendship.

    Anyone thinking seriously about the meaning of life must take into consideration Aristotle’s views. He is concerned with the mundane rather than metaphysical reality and is always intensely practical. The enjoyment that derives from reading his works results from both his practical insights and the exercise of one’s own mind as one accompanies him on his explorations.

  • Jasmine

    "One lesson of our age is that barbarism persists under the surface, and that the virtues of civilized life are less deeply rooted than used to be supposed. The world is not too richly endowed with examples of perseverance and subtlety in analysis, of moderation and sanity in the study of human affairs. It will be a great loss if the thinker who, above all others, displays these qualities, is ever totally forgotten."

    , author of

    , (Oxford 1952) about Aristotl

    "One lesson of our age is that barbarism persists under the surface, and that the virtues of civilized life are less deeply rooted than used to be supposed. The world is not too richly endowed with examples of perseverance and subtlety in analysis, of moderation and sanity in the study of human affairs. It will be a great loss if the thinker who, above all others, displays these qualities, is ever totally forgotten."

    , author of

    , (Oxford 1952) about Aristotle (384 BC - 323 BC)

  • Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle

    The Nicomachean Ethics (Ancient Greek: Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics. The work, which plays a pre-eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title is often assumed to refer to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it (although his young age ma

    The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle

    The Nicomachean Ethics (Ancient Greek: Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια) is the name normally given to Aristotle's best-known work on ethics. The work, which plays a pre-eminent role in defining Aristotelian ethics, consists of ten books, originally separate scrolls, and is understood to be based on notes from his lectures at the Lyceum. The title is often assumed to refer to his son Nicomachus, to whom the work was dedicated or who may have edited it (although his young age makes this less likely). Alternatively, the work may have been dedicated to his father, who was also called Nicomachus.

    تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه مارس سال 2007 میلادی

    عنوان: علم اخلاق نیکوماخوسی؛ نویسنده: ارسطو؛ مترجم: صلاح الدین سلجوقی (زاده سال 1274 هجری خورشیدی، درگذشته سال 1349 هجری خورشیدی)؛ در 330 ص؛ موضوع: اخلاق، - سده 4 پیش از میلاد

    عنوان: اخلاق نیکوماخوس؛ نویسنده: ارسطو؛ مترجم: محمدحسن لطفی؛ تهران، طرح نو، 1378، در 414 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1385؛ شابک: 9645625696؛ موضوع: اخلاق، - سده 4 پیش از میلاد

    اخلاق نیکوماخوسی عنوان شناخته‌ شده‌ ترین اثر ارسطو، در زمینه اخلاق است. این اثر که نقش برجسته‌ ای در معرفی اخلاق ارسطویی دارد، از ده کتاب تشکیل و بر مبنای یادداشت‌ برداری از سخنان ارسطو در لیسیوم شکل گرفته‌ است. این اثر، یا توسط نیکوماخوس (پسر ارسطو)، ویرایش شده، یا به ایشان تقدیم شده‌ است. ا. شربیانی

  • Nemo

    Having just finished and enjoyed Plato's complete works, I find this book a bit annoying and uninspiring in comparison. Aristotle seems to take every opportunity to "correct" Plato, when in fact he is only attacking a strawman. His arguments, sometimes self-contradictory, often support and clarify Plato's ideas, albeit using his own terminology.

    Aristotle seems to have great difficulty appreciating or understanding Plato’s abstractions (from species to genus, from the individua

    Having just finished and enjoyed Plato's complete works, I find this book a bit annoying and uninspiring in comparison. Aristotle seems to take every opportunity to "correct" Plato, when in fact he is only attacking a strawman. His arguments, sometimes self-contradictory, often support and clarify Plato's ideas, albeit using his own terminology.

    Aristotle seems to have great difficulty appreciating or understanding Plato’s abstractions (from species to genus, from the individual instances to the common patterns, i.e. Idea or Form). This is the cause of the majority of his attacks against Plato, as “piety requires us to honour truth above our friends.” How very noble of him!

    I don't know whether the Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum charged their students fees. If not, there were no financial incentives in disparaging their rival. If it was purely intellectual rivalry, using straw man is often a sign of an inferior intellect or character. Since both Plato and Aristotle believed that the intellect was the best part of man or the true man, to attack and destroy another's ideas would be equivalent to murder (or Freudian parricide).

    However, it could also be true that Aristotle was formulating his own philosophy through engagement with Plato's ideas, and intellectual competitions and debates help facilitate the development of sound ideas. Since this is the first book by Aristotle that I've read, it's very likely that I'm not giving him his due here. It may take some time to switch from Plato to Aristotle's way of thinking.

    Aristotle's definitions of good, virtue and happiness are unsatisfactory to me. Good is "that at which all things aim". All people aim at happiness (or pleasure), therefore happiness is the supreme good. But, what exactly is happiness or pleasure? How can one hit his aim if he can't discern what he is aiming at? If virtue is "the mean between deficiency and excess", what is the difference between virtue and mediocrity?

    "Pleasure perfects activity not as the formed state that issues in that activity perfects it, by being immanent in it, but as a sort of supervening [culminating] perfection, like the bloom that graces the flower of youth." How can a fleeting thing that lacks permanence be the object of a lifelong pursuit?

    In the end, Aristotle agrees with Plato, perhaps begrudgingly as it was dictated by reason, that happiness is contemplation of the divine, which is pleasant, self-sufficient and continuous. He insists on making a distinction between activity and state, but in this instance the distinction is unclear to me.

    There are a few things I do appreciate in this book. Aristotle's joie de vivre (his delight in learning, being alive and active), his insights into human nature, his clear and penetrating psychological portrayal of various character traits and the dynamic relationships or transactions between human beings. He also introduced me to Pythagorean's fascinating mathematical representation of equality, A:B = B:C and A-M = M -C.

  • Markus

    is one of the greatest works of Aristotle, the famous philosopher who was really much more of a scientist than a philosopher. This is the book where he indulges in the discussion of happiness, virtue, ethics, politics, and really anything else describing the way in which human beings functioned together in the society of a Greek city-state of early Antiquity.

    Especially in the field of politics, this work excels, and Aristotle puts forth a particularly interesting theory on

    is one of the greatest works of Aristotle, the famous philosopher who was really much more of a scientist than a philosopher. This is the book where he indulges in the discussion of happiness, virtue, ethics, politics, and really anything else describing the way in which human beings functioned together in the society of a Greek city-state of early Antiquity.

    Especially in the field of politics, this work excels, and Aristotle puts forth a particularly interesting theory on the forms of government. According to him, there are really only three different forms of government, but each of them comes with a corresponding corrupt deviation. The finest form of government, he says, is the

    , the rule of one. But its corresponding deviation, which is

    , is the worst form of government, and the line between the two is thin and sinuous. Likewise, the second finest form of government is the

    , the rule of the best. And aristocracy in its corrupted form is

    , the second worst form of government. Lastly, the third finest form of government is

    , the rule of property-owners, which was strikingly similar to the political system already existing in Aristotle's Athens. But the corrupt form of timocracy, he says, is

    , a system in which society has deviated into a constant squabble where everyone seeks to advance their own interests rather than the interests of the state. The conclusion seems to be that as long as long as the rulers of the state are just and competent, it is better the fewer they are. But if the rulers are unjust and incompetent, the opposite is true. To those as interested in political theory as I am, I would recommend just reading Book VIII, and skipping all the rest.

    The most interesting thing about the book, however, is that the writing is absolutely terrible. Not the language, mind you, but the style in which the book is written. What is truly incredible is that the writing here is exactly how an average academic writer today would write his or her books. On one hand, that made this book ridiculously boring to read. On the other, it was really interesting because it proves how much modern academics owe to the legacy of Aristotle. And that they should find another source of inspiration, since for instance Plato was a far better writer than his most famous pupil.

    I would recommend this book only to those particularly interested in philosophical, political and ethical theory, and even then I would suggest just opening the book and reading the parts that sound interesting to you instead of attempting the dreary business of reading it as a whole.

  • peiman-mir5 rezakhani

    دوستانِ گرانقدر، متأسفانه بارها دیده ام که عده ای بیسواد و نادان، یا به عمد و یا از روی بیسوادی، نوشته های <ارسطو> را همچون دیگر فلاسفه، یا تحریف کرده اند و یا سانسور نموده اند و حتی به قولِ خودشان ترجمه های عجیب و غریبی انجام داده اند که نمیدانم آن جملات را از کجایشان درآورده اند .. لذا تصمیم گرفتم تا در مورد این کتاب که ارسطو در آن به موضوعِ مهم <اخلاق> پرداخته است، تا جایی که ریویو خسته کننده نشود، برایتان بنویسم... در مورد کتابهای دیگر فلسفی نیز، این کار را خواهم کرد و پیش از این

    ‎دوستانِ گرانقدر، متأسفانه بارها دیده ام که عده ای بیسواد و نادان، یا به عمد و یا از روی بیسوادی، نوشته های <ارسطو> را همچون دیگر فلاسفه، یا تحریف کرده اند و یا سانسور نموده اند و حتی به قولِ خودشان ترجمه های عجیب و غریبی انجام داده اند که نمیدانم آن جملات را از کجایشان درآورده اند .. لذا تصمیم گرفتم تا در مورد این کتاب که ارسطو در آن به موضوعِ مهم <اخلاق> پرداخته است، تا جایی که ریویو خسته کننده نشود، برایتان بنویسم... در مورد کتابهای دیگر فلسفی نیز، این کار را خواهم کرد و پیش از این نیز اینکار را انجام داده ام

    ‎در زیر به برخی از مهمترین نظرات و عقاید ارسطو در این کتاب پرداخته و خلاصه ای از آنچه دریافتم را برای شما خردگرایان مینویسم

    --------------------------------------

    ‎عزیزانم، به طورِ کلی ارسطو در این کتاب اصرار دارد که بگوید: اخلاق برایِ این است که بتوانیم هدفِ زندگی را کشف کنیم.. باید به دنبالِ خوبی ها و نیکی ها باشیم تا به خوشبختی برسیم... پس هدفِ اصلیِ این زندگی رسیدن به خوشبختی میباشد و برایِ کسبِ خوشبختی باید دارایِ برتری و دانایی و افزونی باشیم و بَس

    ‎رسیدن به برتری و دانایی، تنها به واسطهٔ بهره بردن از خرد و عقل، ایجاد میشود

    ‎انسان برایِ آنکه بتواند به بهترین شکلِ ممکن از خرد بهره برده و ژرف اندیش باشد، باید در اجتماعی زندگی کند که از همه نظر برایِ زندگی کردنِ انسانی مناسب بوده و از موهومات و بیخردی ها، پاک باشد و آزادانه بیاندیشد

    ‎این اجتماع و محیطِ زندگیِ مناسب را تنها حکومتی شایسته میتواند برایِ انسانها ایجاد کند... هر انسانِ خردمندی این را میداند که

    ‎بدونِ تردید حکومت هایِ دینی و مذهبی، تواناییِ ایجادِ چنین محیطی را برایِ انسانها ندارند، چراکه آنها از اندیشیدنِ انسانها در هراس هستند

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    ‎ارسطو در این کتاب توضیحاتی در موردِ غرور و همچنین فروتنی میدهد، امّا روش بیان آن میتواند جالب توجه باشد.... ارسطو در بحثِ مربوط به خوبی ها، از "فرا اندیشی" سخن میگوید و "فرا اندیشی" را یک نوع خوبی به حساب می آورد و میگوید: انسانِ "فرا اندیش" کسی است که گمان میکند، شایستهٔ چیزهای بزرگ است و در واقع همینطور است.. او شایستگی چیزهایِ بزرگ را دارد ... حال این شایستگی چه میباشد!! ارسطو میگوید: انسانِ "فرا اندیش"، شایستهٔ دریافتِ تمامیِ <دارایی هایِ بیرونی> میباشد.. بالاترین <دارایی هایِ بیرونی>، آبرو و اعتبار است.... پس یک انسانِ "فرا اندیش"، شایستهٔ این است که از آبرو و اعتبارِ بسیار زیادی برخوردار باشد.. لذا انسانی که "فرا اندیش" است، میتواند تمامی خوبی هایِ اخلاقی را یکجا داشته باشد... ارسطو میگوید: "فرا اندیشی"، تاجِ شاهانهٔ همهٔ خوبی هاست.... انسانِ "فرا اندیش" این حق را دارد که زیردست داشته باشد، چراکه او تمامِ خوبی ها را دارد و میتواند پندارِ نیک و درستی از دیگران و زیردستانِ خود داشته باشد

    ‎اینجاست که متوجه میشویم این اندیشه های ارسطو چگونه میتواند شاگردِ دوازده ساله اش، <اسکندرِ مقدونی> را تبدیل به موجودی کند که تصور میکند میتواند بر تمامِ این کرهٔ خاکی حکومت کرده و همه را تبدیل به زیر دستِ خویش سازد و هرکجا برود با خود غارت و ویرانی و کشتار را به ارمغان بیاورد و خود را یک "فرا اندیش" بداند

    ‎و امّا در مقابلِ این "فرا اندیش" که از دیدگاه ارسطو دارایِ تمامی خوبی هاست و میتواند فرمانروایی کند، انسانی قرار دارد به نامِ "فرو اندیش" ... شخصِ "فرو اندیش" کسی است که خود را دستِ کم میگیرد، لذا شایستگیِ کمتر و ارزشِ کمتری دارد... و حتی اگر ارزشِ راستینِ او بالا باشد، بازهم او یک "فرو اندیش" است .... مشخص است که ارسطو میانهٔ خوبی با فروتنی ندارد و فروتن را لایقِ تمامیِ خوبی ها و ارزش ها نمیداند

    ‎نکته ای که بسیار جالب است، این است که ارسطو میگوید: خوشبختی، پیشکش و هدیه ای است که به "فرا اندیشان" ارزانی گشته است ... از آنجا که دارا بودن و ثروتمند بودن و آبرومندی، از خصوصیاتِ اشراف زادگان است، اشراف زادگان میتوانند "فرا اندیش" باشند، لذا اشراف زادگان شایستهٔ این سربلندی هستند که به آنها به صورتِ خوشبختی، ارزانی گشته است

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    ‎ارسطو میگوید: کشمکش و نبرد، میانِ انسان و دیدگاهِ او، از زندگی خوب نشأت میگیرد

    ‎در وجود یک انسانِ پرهیزگار، هم خرد وجود دارد و هم شهوت.. اما هرکدام بجا و بخوبی استفاده میشوند... پس میتوان گفت: در وجودِ یک انسانِ پرهیزگار، هرچیزی با آوایِ خرد، در هماهنگیِ کامل میباشد

    ‎ارسطو بر این باور است که سرچشمهٔ تمامیِ ناهماهنگی ها و ناهمسانی ها در زندگیِ انسان ها، این است که از کودکی به انسان ها تلقین شده است که زیاد خواه نباشند و همچنین کم ارزش خواه باشند... که این موضوع ناهمسانی هایِ چشمگیری را به وجود آورده است،.. در این میان انسانی میتواند به خوبی ها و نیکی ها، نزدیک شود که از خرد، بهره میبرد و میتواند از دیدگاهِ اخلاقی بهتر عمل کند

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    ‎ارسطو میگوید: بسیاری از کنش ها و کردارهایِ یک انسانِ اخلاق گرا، برای سودرسانی به دوستان و سرزمین و میهنش انجام میشود و اگر نیاز باشد، جانش را در این راه فدا خواهد کرد

    ‎انسانِ اخلاق گرا، اگر بداند دوستش بیشتر به سود میرسد، حاضر است تا مال و ثروت خود را ببخشد.. زیرا بدین صورت، دوستِ او دارا میشود و خودش نیز به تصورش با شرافت باقی خواهد ماند... او شریف بودن را خوبتر از دارا بودن، میبیند

    ‎انسانِ اخلاق گرا، این تصور را دارد که چنانچه با شرافت بمیرد، خوبی و روشنیِ بزرگی را برای خویش برگزیده است

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    ‎ارسطو معتقد است که اگر شخصی همه چیزش را فدایِ خوشی هایِ جنسی کند، دیگر زندگی اش مناسبِ زندگیِ یک انسان نیست، بلکه آن زندگی مناسبِ چهارپایان است... ارسطو در اظهارِ نظری عجیب میگوید: حتی یک برده نیز میتواند از خوشی های جنسی و لذت جنسی بهره مند شود، امّا هیچکس نمیتواند ادعا کند که یک برده، سهمی از شادی دارد

    ‎در این اظهارِ نظر، ارسطو برده را پایین تر از انسان میداند و آنرا در ردیفِ چهارپایان، قرار میدهد

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    ‎عزیزانِ من، ارسطو کتابش را اینگونه آغاز میکند که: به نظر میرسد که هر هنر و یا هر دانشِ کاربردی و هر بررسی سازماندهی شده و هر کنش و گزینشی، به سویِ برخی خوبی ها نشانه رفته اند

    ‎ارسطو میخواهد بگوید که: برخی رفتارها و کنش ها، به خودیِ خود، خوب و نیک هستند.. یعنی برخی از رفتارها خوب هستند، حتی اگر هیچ پیامدی نداشته باشند... ارسطو مثالی که در انتهایِ کتاب برایِ سخنِ آغازینِ کتابش می آورد، این است که ژرف اندیشی نمونه ای از رفتارهایی است که به خودیِ خود، خوب هستند و ژرف اندیشیدن را ارزشمندترین کنش و کردارِ انسانی میداند و میگوید: کنش و کردارِ ایزدی که نیکبختیِ آن بر تمامیِ کنش هایِ دیگر برتری دارد، ژرف اندیشی میباشد و کردار و کنش انسانی که نزدیکترین خویشاوندی را با آن دارد، بایستی بزرگترین دلیلِ خوشنودی باشد... لذا ارسطو بالاترین ستایش در مقابلِ ایزد و یا ایزدان را کردار و کنشِ فیلسوفانه و دانشمندانه و خردمندانه، برمیگزیند.... یعنی هرچه را که می آموزیم، در آن به صورتِ عمیقی بیاندیشیم، که همان ژرف اندیشی میباشد

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    ‎شاید بخاطر بیان همین عقاید بوده است که عده ای بیخرد و متعصب، ارسطو را کافر نام نهادند و او را محکوم به مرگ کردند و ارسطو مجبور شد تا به جزیرهٔ اوبوآ بگریزد

    ‎سپاسگزارم که این ریویو را تا پایان خواندید و امیدوارم این ریویو در جهتِ شناختِ این کتاب و بخشی از اندیشه هایِ ارسطو، مفید بوده باشه

    ‎<پیروز باشید و ایرانی>

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