The Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle‘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 and justice, and intellectual virtues, such as knowledge, wisdom and insight. The Ethics also discusses the nature of practical reasoning, the value and the objects of pleasure, the different forms of friendship, and the relationship between individual virtue, society and the State. Aristotle’s work has had a profound and lasting influence on all subsequent Western thought about ethical matters.
J. A. K. Thomson’s translation has been revised by Hugh Tredennick, and is accompanied by a new introduction by Jonathan Barnes. This edition also includes an updated list for further reading and a new chronology of Aristotle’s life and works.
Previously published as Ethics
21. Happiness as Eudaimonia: Aristotle's Virtue Ethics
An Analysis of the Two Kinds of Virtue in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
Aristotle conceives of ethical theory as a field distinct from the theoretical sciences. Its methodology must match its subject matter—good action—and must respect the fact that in this field many generalizations hold only for the most part. We study ethics in order to improve our lives, and therefore its principal concern is the nature of human well-being. Aristotle follows Socrates and Plato in taking the virtues to be central to a well-lived life. Like Plato, he regards the ethical virtues justice, courage, temperance and so on as complex rational, emotional and social skills. But he rejects Plato's idea that to be completely virtuous one must acquire, through a training in the sciences, mathematics, and philosophy, an understanding of what goodness is.
It is commonly thought that virtues, according to Aristotle, are habits and that the good life is a life of mindless routine. But the word does not merely mean passive habituation. Virtue, therefore, manifests itself in action. More explicitly, an action counts as virtuous, according to Aristotle, when one holds oneself in a stable equilibrium of the soul, in order to choose the action knowingly and for its own sake. This stable equilibrium of the soul is what constitutes character. The mean is a state of clarification and apprehension in the midst of pleasures and pains that allows one to judge what seems most truly pleasant or painful. This active state of the soul is the condition in which all the powers of the soul are at work in concert.
Aristotle regarded psychology as a part of natural philosophy , and he wrote much about the philosophy of mind. This material appears in his ethical writings, in a systematic treatise on the nature of the soul De anima , and in a number of minor monographs on topics such as sense-perception, memory , sleep, and dreams. Not only humans but beasts and plants too have souls, intrinsic principles of animal and vegetable life.
live working or die fighting
From the SparkNotes Blog
June 12, by Victoria Rayner. Aristotle was a Greek Philosopher, a student of Plato who was responsible for major contributions for metaphysics to ethics, aesthetics and politics.
Aristotle first used the term ethics to name a field of study developed by his predecessors Socrates and Plato. Philosophical ethics is the attempt to offer a rational response to the question of how humans should best live. Aristotle regarded ethics and politics as two related but separate fields of study, since ethics examines the good of the individual, while politics examines the good of the city-state. Aristotle's writings have been read more or less continuously since ancient times,  and his ethical treatises in particular continue to influence philosophers working today. As Aristotle argues in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics , the man who possesses character excellence does the right thing, at the right time, and in the right way. Bravery, and the correct regulation of one's bodily appetites, are examples of character excellence or virtue. So acting bravely and acting temperately are examples of excellent activities.