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Aristotle on the Perfect Life$
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Anthony Kenny

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198240174

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240174.001.0001

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The Ends of Life

The Ends of Life

(p.1) 1 The Ends of Life
Aristotle on the Perfect Life

Anthony Kenny

Oxford University Press

Aristotle was the first philosopher to attempt a systematic account of practical reasoning, just as he was the first philosopher to systematize theoretical logic. In his practical philosophy, he is above all concerned with the whys and wherefores of human action. He often writes as if he is more concerned with chains of reasoning from ends to means than with the comparative evaluation of ends. Among ultimate ends, in all the Aristotelian ethical treatises, eudaimonia or happiness has a very special role. On one hand, Eudemian Ethics begins with a solemn introduction according to which the subject of the work is happiness. On the other hand, Nicomachean Ethics begins by taking the subject matter of ethics to be the supreme good, and goes on to consider happiness as the most popular answer to the question ‘What is the supreme good?’.

Keywords:   Aristotle, practical reasoning, eudaimonia, happiness, Nicomachean Ethics, supreme good

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