The good has rightly been decalred to be that to which all things aim
P1: Every art, and every inquiry aim at some good (although some are subordinate to others).
C: The good has rightly been declared to be that which all things aim.
There is the chief good to which all aim is directed
P1: If there was no ultimate end (or supreme good), then we would all desire one thing for the sake of another, a process that ‘would go on to infinity’.
P2: In this process, our desires would therefore be ‘empty and vain’, or unjustified.
P3: (implied) Our desires are not empty and vain).
C: Therefore, there is one ultimate end, the chief Good, to which all aim is directed.
Politics is the science of the human good
P1: The Chief Good is that which all other goods aim at.
P2: Politics is the ‘master art’ in that all other arts and capacities are subordinate to it and participate in it.
P3: Politics legislates what we are to do and what we are to abstain from, thus the end of this science must encompass all other ends.
C: Politics is the science of the human good.
We must be content to speak of the truth roughly and in outline in relation to moral and political science
P1: Noble and just actions exhibit much variety and fluctuation.
P2: Political science is the investigation of noble and just actions.
P3: Clearness in a discussion is dependent on the subject matter.
P4: As a subject, moral and political sciences are not as precise as subjects such as mathematics.
P5: (implied) More flexibility and adaptive capacity is required for attaining ‘truths’ in moral and political science.
C: We must be content to speak of the truth ‘roughly and in outline’ in relation to moral and political science.
There is no generally accepted view on what happiness itself involves
P1: There is general agreement between both uneducated (‘general run’) and cultivated (‘those of superior refinement’) men that happiness is the highest good.
P2: All identify living and faring well with being happy.
P3: There is nonetheless disagreement about what happiness itself is.
P4: People pursue different subsidiary aims such as wealth, honour or pleasure, which are often context driven (health when ill, wealthy when poor).
C: There is no generally accepted view on what happiness itself involves.
A life of pleasure is not the chief good
P1: A live lived solely in pursuit of pleasure is only suitable to beasts.
P2: The human good should be something unique to humans.
C: A life of pleasure is not the chief good.
A life of honour is not the chief good
P1: The good is of our own making and should be difficult to take from us.
P2: The life of honour and status depends on honour bestowed by others (rather than our own actions).
C: The life of honour is not the chief good.
A life in possession of virtue is incomplete
P1: The mere possession of virtue is akin to being asleep.
P2: The good life must be one of activity, where virtue is actualised.
C: The life of (possession of) virtue is incomplete.
A life in pursuit of wealth is not the chief good
P1: Wealth is always pursued for the sake of something else.
P2: The good is pursued for its own sake.
C: A life in pursuit of wealth is not the chief good.
Happiness is the chief good
P1: The final good is the end for which all other ends are pursued.
P2: The chief good is only pursued for its own sake.
P3: The chief good must be self-sufficient.
P4: Happiness fulfills all of the above criteria.
C: Happiness is the chief good,’ something final and self sufficient, the end of all action’
It is rationality, and its activity reason, which constitutes the function of human beings
P1: All activities performed by man have an ergon (function), in which the good resides, so it would seem the same for man (if he has a function).
P2:As eye, hand and foot have a function, so man must have a function apart from all of these.
P3: (minor C) Man must have a shared function unique to him.
P4: The function of a thing is determined by its distinctive characteristics.
P5: Rationality is the distinctive characteristic of all humans, as nutrition and perception are shared with non-human organisms.
C: Therefore it is rationality, and its activity, reason, which constitutes the function of human beings
Human good is an activity of the soul exhibitng virtue
P1: The function of man is an activity of soul which follows or implies reason.
P2: The function of a good man is the good and noble performance of his function.
P3: Any action is well performed if performed in an excellent manner (in accordance with the appropriate virtue).
C: Human good (happiness) turns out to be the activity of the soul (reason) exhibiting virtue
The virtues do not arise in us via nature, rather we are adapted by nature to receive them and are made perfect by habit
P1: Nothing that exists by nature can form a habit contrary to its nature.
P2: Moral virtue is cultivated via habit.
C: The virtues do not arise in us via nature, rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit.
The activities we exhibit must be of a certain kind in order for us to live a good life
P1: In the case of things we acquire by nature (such as the senses) we first acquire the potentiality and later the activity.
P2: Unlike these things, virtues are acquired by exercising them through habit (as in the arts and political states as well).
P3: States of character arise our of like activities.
C: The activities we exhibit must be of a certain kind in order for us to live a good life as it ‘makes all the difference’.
The agent themselves must in each case consider what is appropriate to the occasion
P1: Matters concerned with conduct and questions of what is good for us have no fixity, any more than matters of health.
P2: The account of particular cases is yet more lacking in exactness, as they do not fit under any particular art or precept.
C: Under these circumstances, the agent themselves must in each case consider what is appropriate to the occasion.
Both sensible and non-sensible things are destroyed by excess and defect and preserved by the mean
P1: It is the nature of sensible things to be destroyed by excess and defect (examples: strength and health).
P2: So it is too, with the non-sensible virtues. They too are destroyed by excess and defect (examples: temperance and courage).
C: Both sensible and non-sensible things are destroyed by excess and defect and preserved by the mean.
For a person to be considered virtuous they must delight in and be pained by the things they ought
P1: Moral virtue is concerned with pleasure and pain
P2: We must take as signs of states of character the pleasure and pain that supervenes upon acts.
P3: The man who feels pleasure and pain at the appropriate moments is to be considered virtuous, whilst the opposite is not.
C: For a person to be considered virtuous, they must delight in and be pained by the things they ought.
Delight and pain has no small effect on our actions
P1: It is by reason and pleasures and pains that men become bad, by pursuing or avoiding what they ought not.
P2: Virtue tends to do what is best in regards to pleasure and pain and vice does the contrary.
P3: The good man tends to go right in regards to the three objects of choice and their opposites, while the bad man goes wrong.
C: For this reason, our whole inquiry must be about about these, for to delight and pain wrongly has no small effect on our actions
Actions are called just and temperate when they are as the just and temperate man would do, and performed in accordance with a just and temperate disposition
P1: If the acts that are in accordance with the virtues have a certain character it does not follow that they are done justly or temperately.
P2: The agent must in a certain condition when she performs the acts: knowledge; choose the act for its own sake; proceed from firm and unchangeable character; take pleasure in the act.
C: Actions are called just and temperate when they are as the just and temperate man would do, and performed in accordance with a just and temperate disposition.
If the virtues are neither feelings nor faculties, it remains that they are dispositions
P1: Virtue belongs in the sphere of the emotions, the capacities or the dispositions of the moral agent.
P2: It cannot belong in the sphere of emotions or feelings, as it is absurd to blame someone for having feelings.
P3: It cannot belong to the sphere of capacities, as it is absurd to blame someone for having the capability or capacity to either feel or not feel something.
C: So, if the virtues are neither feelings nor faculties, it remains that they are dispositions’.
A master of any art avoids the excess or defect but seeks the intermediate and chooses it.
P1: In everything that is continuous and divisible it is possible to take more, less, or an equal amount, and that either in terms of the the thing itself or relatively to us.
P2: The equal an intermediate between excess and defect.
P3: In opposition to the intermediate in the object, the immediate realtively to much is neither too much nor too little, nor one nor the same for all.
C: Thus a master of any art avoids excess or defect, but seeks the intermediate relatively to us and chooses this.
Virtue is a state of character concerned with choice lying in a mean determined by reason.
P1: Moral virtue, like all other arts, must have the quality of aiming at the intermediate.
P2: Moral virtue is concerned with passions and actions (in which exist excess, defect and the intermediate).
P3: Thus, to feel things at the right times, with reference to the right objects, towards the right people, with the right motive and in the right way is what is both intermediate and best and characteristic of virtue.
P4: The same applies to actions.
C: Virtue is a state of character concerned with choice lying in a mean (relative to us) this being determined by reason.
Some acts are bad and have no excess or defect
Some acts are bad and have no excess or defect. These are adultery theft, murder. There is no mean.
Doctrine of Contrariety
All three - mean, excess, and defect - stand contrary to each other. But the greatest contrast is between excess and defect as they are furthest appart. Some intermediates are closer to extremes than others (bravery is more like brash)
The mean rests with percpetion.
The judgment required in deciding whether ot not a man is behaving appropriately or morally cannot be reasoned from principles, it is decided with perception.
The good has rightly been declared to be that to which all things aim EVAL
Have we just assumed purpose in organisms that are essentially purposeless? The argument from evolution claims this.
Does everything need an aim?
Human activities usually have a purpose or end. So too human made things.
Some goods do seem to be subordinate to others.
There is the chief good to which all aim is directed EVAL
‘All roads lead to Rome’ fallacy. Just because everyhting has a telos does not mean that there is a final end to which all things aim.
But this argument does seem plausible.
Politics is the science of the human good EVAL
In the right hands yes.
We must be content to speak of the truth roughly and in outline in relation to moral and political science EVAL
True. Ethics has exceptions.
There is no generally accepted view on what happiness itself involves EVAL
True. There is no consensus.
A life of pleasure is not the chief good EVAL
True. In accordance with his teleological view.
It is rationality, and its activity reason, which consitutes the function of human beings EVAL
Why assume there is a function? Why is it biologically determined, and not socially determined? Why unique?
When moving from saying that since eyes, hands, feet have a function, so too must mas, he commits the falalcy of composition, in claiming that what is true of the parts must be true of the whole.
Maybe rationality serves the purpose of survival.
Human good is an activity of the soul exhibitng virtue EVAL
Yes. It is not enough to think virtuously, but we must act it too. And do so with excellence.
The agent themselves must in each case consider what is appropriate to the occassion EVAL
This seems to match the complexity of our lived.
But the skills of moral percpetion are not completely routinizable. Habits are difficult to teach.
He relies on the belief that everyone can identitfy the good. But some are so plagued with unhealthy beliefs (consumerism), are profoundl ignorant about what motivates them, or are part of a society that has unhealthy beliefs.
It seems to only be suited for thse who need it least. How then can it work as an ethical theory for all?
Actions are called just and temperate when they are in accordance with what the just and temperate man would do, and performed in accordance with a just and temperate disposition. EVAL
Cannot some actions have value in themselves, without aiming at eudaimonia or performed with the correct disposition? We need to consider the importance of character to ethics against serving the greater good.
Shoudlnt’ we use other criteria, such as the utilitarian criteria of suffering, to determine the rightness of an action instead of whether or not it reflects a virtuous disposition? Ticking time bomb. Murder is not necessarily wrong.
The requirement that every choice be a rational one seems unrealistic. Sometimes we make irrational, pointless choices on automaton that do not aim at a mean.
Problem of akraisa. What if you have virtuous beliefs but act otherwise? Are you not virtuous?
A person’s moral character can change.
A master of any art avoids excess or defect, but seeks the intermediate and chooses it EVAL
How far should our compassion extend in regards to more complex issues such as euthanasia? He gives no independent standard for us to measure whether or not we have judged the mean correctly.
Some acts are bad and have no excess or defect EVAL
What about the increased complexity of society where killing or theft could be justified?