Aristoteles # Hughes, Philosophy Guidebook to Aristotle on by Gerard Hughes

By Gerard Hughes

Hughes explains the main parts in Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics terminology and highlights the debate concerning the interpretations of his writings. furthermore, he examines the function that Aristotle's ethics proceed to play in modern ethical philosophy by means of evaluating and contrasting his perspectives with these generally held at the present time.

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He then says, in a remark which is important for a correct understanding of this much-controverted chapter, that the same conclusion follows if we consider why we think of a fulfilled life as sufficient of itself. For by that is meant that, if one is fulfilled, then there is nothing more required, and hence no further end which needs to be pursued. Why do I say that this last remark is so important? Because the point about self-sufficiency has been interpreted quite differently, as part of the inclusive/dominant controversy already mentioned.

Not everyone would accept it in every detail. See also Kenny [1992], ch. 8, for an account with a very different emphasis. 25 Aristotle says that it is not the seeking of such an understanding, but the active consideration of the understanding that one has achieved (1177a27). I prefer ‘active consideration’ to the common translation ‘contemplation’, which, as Sarah Broadie says [1991], p. 401, has the unfortunate connotations of a ‘locked gaze’. THE FULFILLED LIFE It therefore comes as something of a rude shock when Aristotle, at the start of X, 7 gives a brisk recapitulation of the Function Argument, and concludes that the best use of our minds is theo¯ria.

The same goes for the exercise of our minds. We can turn them to all kinds THE FULFILLED LIFE of activities, from crossword puzzles to theft, from football to philosophy, and a multitude of things in between. Could we not learn to be fulfilled by a life devoted to any of a wide variety of ends – being a concert pianist, a successful con artist, a champion weight-lifter, or a social worker or a philosopher? Is there any morally neutral way of showing that any one of these lives is ‘lower’ or ‘higher’ than another, given that all of them require careful thought and planning?

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