Philosophy. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

The Nicomachean Ethics is Aristotle’s best-known and significant work that defined his ethics. This writing includes ten books that were initially introduced as separate scrolls and are believed to be based on his lecture notes at the Lyceum. Aristotle was one of the last great Greek philosophers and the heir of Socrates and Plato, who had the most significant influence on Aristotle’s works in philosophy, sciences, and metaphysics. The Nicomachean Ethics is a book about personal morality and the life goals of human beings. It also explains how Aristotle defines happiness, including moral virtue in Book 1 and philosophical happiness in book 10. The ideas and issues that were discussed by Aristotle in this work are essential and applicable to every human being. Therefore, this paper will discuss and analyze the importance of friendship, virtue, and endurance and the way Aristotle presents these concepts. Despite the writing style and thoughts that were conveyed by Aristotle in an unusual manner, this work defines his understanding of the world and human ethics.

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Aristotle’s writing style in Nicomachean Ethics has distinctive features that set this piece apart from his other works. Metaphysics and Physics, has a very concise and unhandy style of writing, while Nicomachean Ethics has an effortless and precise manner. It may seem that the writing has been thoroughly edited and tested so that readers can fully be imbued with the idea. Also, one of the distinctive features of this work is that the books are not divided with regards to the arguments and ideas. For example, he starts discussing The Moral Virtues in Particular in Book III and continues his approach in Book IV. Also, this tendency is observed in Book VIII, where he discusses friendship and in Book IX, where he continues to discuss the same trend.

Aristotle introduces some complications to the distinction between vice and virtue. Both of them require that human beings will act consciously, yet there are many occasions when a person works not according to reason but according to passion. Aristotle said that sometimes even prudent and clever men are unrestrained.1 In Book VII, Aristotle focuses on continence and endurance, while discussing such characters as vice and bestiality that should be avoided. An incontinent man is worse than an intemperate man because the first one is ruled by his passions and desires that make him do things he already knows are bad. However, second can be persuaded to change his mind. Aristotle is far from hedonism, yet he does not think that pleasure is a bad thing. He feels that pleasure is an inherent part of virtue. A virtuous person’s desires should be by something that gives him pleasure. Aristotle does not consider the highest good, but it goes well in accordance with the highest goods as well as with lesser goods.

Aristotle divides friendship into three categories based on the types of relationships, which are usefulness, pleasure, and virtue. Aristotle said that friendship is not only a necessity, but it also is noble in itself and that is why human beings praise the ones who treat and love his friends.2 Among the three types of friendship, the most virtuous friendship is a shared desire for genuine good. The justice in a relationship is quite thought-provoking because truth itself is the inherent part of all virtues. However, friendship goes far beyond justice because when friendship exists, judgment is not necessary to occur, but friendship is an essential part of justice.

To conclude, in Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle introduces his understanding of such ideas as virtue, justice, and friendship. He also examines how they are connected, the nature of human beings, and the more significant concept of happiness. Aristotle debates that friendship is complete virtue above justice and morality and that it should be highly valued above all. Aristotle’s ethics may seem to be controversial in some cases. Yet, the ideas that he introduces are an inherent part of human life, and that is why this work is so vital in understanding ethics and human nature.


Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Translated by Joe Sachs. Bemidji: Focus Publishing, 2002.


  1. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. (Bemidji, 2002).
  2. Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. (Bemidji, 2002).
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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Philosophy. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics'. 9 August.

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