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The Nicomachean Ethics (Oxford World's Classics) Reprint Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0192834072
ISBN-10: 019283407X
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Editorial Reviews


"Very useful as a cornerstone for our discussion of ethics and the Western moral tradition. The translation is elegant."--Dominic A. Aquila, Rochester Institute of Technology

"A fine translation of an essential classic in the field of ethics."--Claudia Card, University of Wisconsin

"The index is extremely helpful. The 'contents' are also a helpful tool. The numbering and division titles also make this book a little easier to teach."--Rose Marie Surwilo, College of St. Francis

"Very useful text of Aristotle: the translation presents no pitfalls to a beginning student; the editor's organization is useful but unitrusive; and finally, the cost is perfect."--Nickolas O. Papas, Hollins College

"An excellent translation and edition."--Winfield J.C. Myers, University of Georgia

"Most lucid and accessible edition popularly available."--John L. Hemingway, Washington State University

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek

Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (July 9, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019283407X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192834072
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 0.9 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"Every art or applied science and every systematic investigation, and similarly every action and choice, seem to aim at some good; the good, therefore, has been well defined as that which all things aim."
In his Ethics, Aristotle does little more than to search for and examine the "good." Aristotle examines the virtues and vices of man in all of his faculties.
Aristotle refers to three types of lives, the common life, the political life, and the contemplative life, to which he assigns the highest order. Certainly, this is the most difficult life. Similar to Plato, Aristotle believed that "the unexamined life is a life not worth living." Aristotle does nothing other to examine the life of man and what is the best life to live.
Unlike Plato, you do not need to read the entire work to walk away with some useful insight into life. Though the over 100 chapters, divided into ten books, flow and build upon each other, you can read just one of them and be benefited. Aristotle covers many different subjects such as the good, morals, virtue, vice, courage, generosity, justice, intelligence, art, science, friendship, love, pleasure, and pain.
I can not say enough for the depth of insight Aristotle has into living the good life. Nicomachean Ethics is well written and presented in a clear manner that should be accessible to most readers. This is a must read for everyone.
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By A Customer on June 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Oxford edition (ISBN: 019283407X) is great, but stay away from the Dover Thrift edition and the Prometheus editions (those editions I give one star).
Aristotle's book is essential reading for the student of the history of Ethics, though it is certainly not the first ethical system in the history of philosophy.
About the Dover edition, not all of the words are translated in the text, which is rather annoying for anyone with no knowledge of the ancient Greek language. Also, it is far from an easy read, even in portions that are completely translated.
About the Prometheus edition, it is a reprint of the Welldon translation, but without his introduction or his index (Prometheus seems to be trying to save a little money, but it makes it much less valuable.) Also, Prometheus renumbered the pages WITHOUT renumbering the references in the margins (if you already purchased this poorly made edition, add 8 to all of the pages in the marginal notes). But wait, there is more that is wrong with this edition! Prometheus omitted a note that explains that the pages referred to in the footnotes are to a different standard edition, so don't bother trying to find those references within the book. All in all, a disgraceful job of reprinting the book. I advise staying away from Prometheus editions whenever possible; see the reviews of Hobbes' Leviathan for another example of their efforts.
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Format: Paperback
Along with many other virtues, Aristotle has the characteristic of being extremely systematic and ordered in his exposition of subjects. It is believed that he, like Plato, wrote dialogues to illuminate his philosophy, and that those dialogues are lost and all we have is his notes for class. It is good we still keep so many notes, because of its said order and clarity. Of course, it is not an easy reading (although I wouldn't put him either among the obscure and dark philosophers). It is rigorous philosophy exposed without useless digressions.
Aristotle tells us that all extremes are bad. We have to find the "golden middle". Then he proceeds to expose different sets of extremes and the virtuous middle of the road. Being mad with fury is bad, but being insensible to outrageous actions is also a measure of inhumanity and extreme weakness of character. And so with the other virtues and vices.
Aristotle's system is still relevant because of the simple fact that he treats features of the human soul that are universal, regardless of time and place. His theories do not come from Divine revelation or from any mystical source. They come from common sense, and an acute observation of the humankind. Aristotle tells us that we must moderate our primal impulses and instincts, and live by the rule of reason and reasonability. No wonder Aristotle is the source of rigorous, systematic and realist Western philosophy, as opposed to the more literary, poetic and idealist school that comes from Plato, Aristotle's mentor. His is an almost scientific approach, certainly not "entertainment" or Tarot philosophy. It needs no recommendation; it has proved to be a universal work of the mind, one that will stay extant through the ages, as it has already been.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Nicomachean Ethics is the first systematic description of an ethical system. It has the clearest formulation of the questions that Ethics asks: 1. How should we live? 2. Why? 3. Why is that best? Aristotle's answer to 1. is that we should avoid extremes, because (answering 2.) every extreme is evil, and (answering 3.) since the opposite of any extreme is itself an evil extreme, we must therefore avoid extremes. The book has been read by every serious ethical philosopher since history began. Because of this, every serious ethical work can (and should) be read as a dialogue with Aristotle, as he sets the rules, and then challenges, "I know of no good that crosses all the categories . . . but in each category there is one particular good." Kant's Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals is an attempt to find a normative good that crosses all categories, a "categorical imperative." Likewise Bentham's discussion of what has come to be called utilitarian ethics. Really, a most important book.
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