Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Building from Happiness to Friendship

In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle examines happiness, which is the good towards which every human action is directed. Entangled in this pursuit is Aristotle's discussion of such ideas as virtue, magnanimity, justice and friendship, as well as the relationships between all of these. Before he can address these relationships, however, Aristotle must unpack each of the ideas so that they may exist outside mere relation to others. Having done this, he may then build upon each: from virtue, Aristotle builds to magnanimity; from magnanimity he builds to justice; and from justice he builds to friendship. I will thus take a similar approach in this essay, which aims to condense these relationships, and identify any themes that reoccurparticularly the theme of equality. When he has neared the end of his text, Aristotle also begins to discuss the political implications of his work, which originated in a pursuit of what was "the highest good." These implications thus serve as an important and clarifying application of Aristotle's ideas, and I will thus similarly conclude with analysis of these implications. But, as Aristotle does, I must begin with the elementary block which is all human's common pursuit, namely...

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