February Philosophy Read: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics, philosophy, ancient Greece, wisdom, knowledge, ethics, happiness, goodness, Renaissance Man

Well, now that we’ve finished January’s philosophy read, it’s time to move on to February’s! For our second philosophy read of 2017, we’re staying in Ancient Greece for a little longer with Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics. 

Born in 384 BCE in the city of Stagira, Aristotle was quite the Renaissance Man even before the term was first coined centuries later. Besides philosophy, he had a keen interest in a wide range of subjects from, meteorology, biology, botany and optics to metaphysics, zoology, rhetoric and music. He was an astute observer of the world around hi,m and a pioneer of empiricism and logical and deductive thinking, or syllogism. He was also best known as a student of Plato and a tutor of Alexander the Great, and was thought to be an early influencer on the latter’s infamous eastern military campaign.

Aristotle was a prolific writer on many of the subjects he studied, but sadly much of his works has been lost over the years. The majority that was recovered and preserved is thought to be merely working drafts or lecture notes for his students at the Lyceum. Among these is The Nicomachean Ethics.

In The Nicomachean Ethics, which is said to be dedicated to his son Nicomachus, Aristotle set out his thoughts on ethics and happiness. One of the most important philosophical works written, The Nicomachean Ethics is said to have had a profound influence, not just on western philosophy and theology, but also among medieval Muslim scholars, philosophers and theologians.

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