Reading the Nicomachean Ethics as an Investigation

in History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis
AutorIn: Guy Schuh1
Mehr anzeigen Weniger anzeigen
  • 1 Department of Philosophy, Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA, USA

Sofortzugang erwerben (PDF-Download und unbegrenzter Online-Zugang):


Aristotle tells us that the Nicomachean Ethics is an “inquiry” and an “investigation” (methodos and zētēsis). This paper focuses on an under-appreciated way that the work is investigative: its employment of an exploratory investigative strategy—that is, its frequent positing of, and later revision or even rejection of, merely preliminary positions. Though this may seem like a small point, this aspect of the work’s methodology has important consequences for how we should read it—specifically, we should be open to the possibility that some contradictions in the text are the result of his employment of this investigative strategy. In the paper, I describe this investigative strategy, discuss what motivates Aristotle to employ it in the work, and go through three contradictions that are plausibly identified as examples of its use—specifically, his claims that courageous people do and do not fear death, that friendship is and is not mutually recognized goodwill, and that virtuous people do and do not choose noble actions for their own sake.

  • [Anonymous] Eustratii et Michaelis et Anonyma in Ethica Nicomachea. Heylbut, G. (ed.), 1892. Commentaria In Aristotelem Graeca, vol. 20. Berlin: Reimer. (= In Eth. Nic.)

  • [Anonymous Paraphrast] Heliodori in Ethica Nicomachea Paraphrasis. Heylbut, G. (ed.), 1889. Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, vol 19. Berlin: Reimer. (= Eth. Nic. Par.)

  • [Aristotle] Aristotelis Ethica Nicomachea. Bywater, I. (ed.), 1894. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (= NE)

  • [Aristotle] Aristotelis Ars Rhetorica. Ross, W.D. (ed.), 1959. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (= Rhetorics)

  • [Aristotle] Aristotelis Ethica Eudemia. Mingay, J.M. & Walzer R.R. (eds.), 1991. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (= EE)

  • Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics Books VIII and IX. Pakaluk, M. (tr.), 1999. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • [Aspasius] Aspasii in Ethica Nicomachea Commentaria. Heylbut, G. (ed.), 1889. Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca, vol. 19. Berlin: Reimer.

  • Kant, I. Lectures on Ethics. Heath, P. & Schneewind, J.B. (eds.), Heath (tr.), 1997. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Original: Collins, G.L., Moralphilosophie nach den akad: Vorlesungen des Herrn Prof: Kant. Königsberg im Wintersemestre 1748 und 1785. In: Kant’s Vorlesungen, vol. 4: Vorlesungen zur Moralphilosophie, erste Hälfte. Lehman, G. (ed.), 1974. Berlin: de Gruyter.)

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • [Michael of Ephesus.] Eustratii et Michaelis et Anonyma in Ethica Nicomachea. Heylbut, G. (ed.), 1892. Commentaria In Aristotelem Graeca, vol. 20. Berlin: Reimer. (= In Eth. Nic.)

  • Bostock, D. 2000. Aristotle’s Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Broadie, S. 2002. Philosophical introduction and commentary. In: Broadie, S. (ed.) & Rowe, C. (ed., tr.), Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics. New York: Oxford University Press, 981.

  • Bruell, C. 2013. Aristotle on Theory and Practice. In: Lomax, J. & Pangle, T. (eds.), Political Philosophy Cross-Examined: Perennial Challenges to the Philosophic Life, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 1728.

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • Burger, R. 2008. Aristotle’s Dialogue with Socrates: On the Nicomachean Ethics. Chicago–London: University of Chicago Press.

  • Burnet, J. (ed). 1900. The Ethics of Aristotle. London: Methuen and Company.

  • Colins, S. 1999. The Moral Virtues in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. In: Bartlett, R. & Colins, S. (eds.), Action and Contemplation: Studies in the Moral and Political Thought of Aristotle. Albany: State University of New York Press, 31158.

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • Cooper, J. 1980. Aristotle on Friendship. 1980. In Rorty, A. (ed.), Essays on Aristotle’s Ethics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 301340.

  • Curzer, H. 2012. Aristotle and the Virtues. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Gauthier, R.A. & Jolif, Y.J. 1958. L’Ethique à Nicomaque. Vol 2. Louvain and Paris: Publications Universitaires, Béatrice-Nauwelaerts.

  • Irwin, T.H. 1988. Aristotle’s First Principles. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Irwin, T.H. 1999. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Hackett.

  • Jaffa, H.V. 1952. Thomism and Aristotelianism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Joachim, H.H. 1970. Aristotle, the Nicomachean Ethics: A Commentary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Karbowski, J. 2015. Endoxa, facts, and the starting points of the Nicomachean Ethics. In: Henry, D. & Nielsen, K. (eds.), Bridging the Gap between Aristotle’s Science and Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 113129.

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • Karbowski, J. 2019. Aristotle’s Method in Ethics: Philosophy in Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Lear, G. 2003. Review of Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship by Lorraine Smith Pangle. In: Gutting, A. (ed.), Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (October 12, 2003). URL: <>. Accessed: May 23, 2019.

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • Müller, J. 2018. Practical and Productive Thinking in Aristotle. Phronesis 63(2), 148175.

  • Nussbaum, M. 1986. The Fragility of Goodness: Luck and Ethics in Greek Tragedy and Philosophy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Natali, C. 2007. Rhetorical and Scientific Aspects of the Nicomachean Ethics. Phronesis 52(4), 364381.

  • Pangle, L. 2003. Aristotle and the Philosophy of Friendship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pakaluk, M. 2005. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Pakaluk, M. 2011. On the Unity of the Nicomachean Ethics. In: Miller, J. (ed.), Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics: A Critical Guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2344.

  • Price, A.W. 1989. Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Price, A.W. 2011. Virtue and Reason in Plato and Aristotle. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Reeve, C.D.C. 2014. Nicomachean Ethics. Translation With Introduction and Notes by C.D.C. Reeve. Reeves. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.

  • Roochnik, D. 2015. Courage and Shame: Aristotle’s Nicomachean EthicsIII.6–9. Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics 17(2), 200218.

  • Ross, W.D. 1949. Aristotle. 5th ed. London: Methuen.

  • Salmieri, G. 2009. Aristotle’s Non-‘Dialectical’ Methodology in the Nicomachean Ethics. Ancient Philosophy 29(3), 311335.

  • Schuh, G. 2020. Friendship and Aristotle’s Defense of Psychological Eudaimonism. The Review of Metaphysics 73 (3), 227254.

  • Sidgwick, H. 1886. Outlines of the History of Ethics. London: Thoemmes Press.

  • Smith, R. 1993. Aristotle on the Uses of Dialectic. Synthese 96(3), 335358.

  • Stewart, J.A. 1892. Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. 2 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Taylor, C.C.W. (tr.). 2006. Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics Books II–IV. With a commentary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

  • Vermigli, P.M. Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. Austin, K., Beall, S., Leszek, W. (trs.). 2006. In: Campi, E. & McLelland, J. (eds.). The Peter Martyr Library, vol. 9. Kirksville: Truman State University Press.

    • Über Google Scholar suchen
    • Zitierung exportieren
  • Whiting, J. 2002. Eudaimonia, External Results, and Choosing Virtuous Actions for Themselves. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65(2), 270290.


Insgesamt Im letzten Jahr In den letzten 30 Tagen
Aufrufe von Kurzbeschreibungen 105 105 8
Gesamttextansichten 0 0 0
PDF-Downloads 1 1 1