ARISTOTLE – THE NATURE OF VIRTUE
Books I: Happiness
Ends and Goods
· Every action seems to seek some good. Many actions = many ends. I.e. health is the end of medicine, a boat of boat building, victory of generalship, etc. But, some of these pursuits are subordinate to some one capacity. I.e. bridle making and every other science producing equipment for horses are subordinate to horsemanship.
· In all such cases, the ends of the ruling sciences are more choice-worthy than all the ends subordinate to them.
The Highest Good and Political Science
· Suppose that the things achievable by action have some end that we want simply because of itself. We wish for other things to get this good, and do not wish for everything to achieve something else because that route will go on without limit.
· If so, we should try to grasp what that good is, and which is its proper science.
· Highest ruling science: political science; the one that prescribes which of the sciences ought to be studied in cities. Since it uses other sciences concerned with action, its end will include the ends of the other sciences, and so this will be the human good.
· “Even if the good is the same for a city as an individual, still the good of the city is a greater and more complete good to acquire and preserve.”
The Method of Political Science
· Fine and just things (what political science studies) differ and vary, so much as to seem to rest on protocol/convention, not on nature. But [this is not a good reason] since goods also vary in the same way, because they result in harm to many people. I.e. some have been destroyed because of their wealth, others because of their bravery.
· Since this is our subject, and our premises; we shall be satisfied to indicate the truth roughly and in outline, since our subject/premises are things that hold good usually, but not universally.
· Each person judges rightly because of what he knows, and good judge in a given area is a person in educated in that area. 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 arguments. For an immature person, he/she gets no benefit from their knowledge. But for those who accord with reason in forming their desires, knowledge of pol sci will be of great benefit.
· The greatest good to attain is happiness, but many people disagree about what it is. For many it is pleasure, wealth, and honor. Some may take it to be one thing; however, the same person often changes their mind when they have fallen ill—they then think happiness is health.
· It is futile to examine all these beliefs, and so it is enough to examine those that are most current or seem to have some argument for them.
· We ought to begin from things known to us. This is why we need to have been brought up in fine habits if we are to be adequate students of fine and just things.
The 3 Lives
· People reach for their conception of the good...