The Contents of Books VII and X of the <i>Nicomachean Ethics</i>

J. C. B. Gosling and C. C. W. Taylor

in The Greeks On Pleasure

Published in print December 1982 | ISBN: 9780198246664
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191681035 | DOI:
The Contents of Books VII and X of the Nicomachean Ethics

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The last two chapters argued that there is no reason to suppose any change of view on Aristotle's part as to the nature of pleasure or its relation to the good for man. While the Eudemian Ethics does differ in nuance from the Nicomachean, in that, for instance, there is in the former work no such clear statement that what X is fond of is pleasant to X as that in EN 1099a, still such positions seem to be implicit, and if we suppose either treatment of pleasure to be inserted into the Eudemian Ethics this view would be reinforced. Consequently we can see no reason to suppose a change between the two ethical works. On the other hand a considerable part of our argument has been to the effect that the two treatments of pleasure suppose more difference of context than has commonly been believed. This suggests the intriguing question: what, if anything, does this show about the order in which the two treatments were composed? We are unable to find any decisive arguments from a comparison of the books. The whole question is, of course, part of the wider problem of the contents of and relationship between the Eudemian Ethics and the Nicomachean Ethics. So prevalent, however, is the assumption that the treatment of pleasure in Book X is the later, more refined treatment that this chapter argues for the view that Book VII is responding to a later philosophical context than Book X.

Keywords: Aristotle; Eudoxus; pleasure; Nicomachean Ethics; Plato; Eudemian Ethics

Chapter.  6137 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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