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Extra resources for Nicomachean Ethics
It is true that Aristotle’s own definition of happiness as activity of the soul in accord with the best and most complete virtue seems to end up entailing that a certain theoretical activity—the contemplation of the god—is the best kind of happiness (X 7–8). But it is not a theoretical definition for all that, if by “theoretical” we mean, as we should, that truth alone is the measure of its correctness. What matters most is that what it defines, unlike Plato’s good itself, is something we can put into practice—something we can do.
Is a deliberately choosing state, which is in a medial condition xxxvi Introduction in relation to us, one defined by a reason and the one by which a practicallywise person would define it” (II 6 1106b36–1107a1). At that point he implies he has discovered virtue’s “essence (ousia) and the account (logos) that states its what it is to be (to ti ên einai)” (1107a6–7). It is just what a definition or account in a canonical science is supposed to do (APo. II 3 90b16, 10 93b29). There is an important difference, though, which Aristotle takes pains to register but whose significance is nonetheless easy to miss.
We may all have some beliefs about thunder and other phenomena readily perceptible to everyone, that are—for that very reason—reputable. But about Mandelbrot sets, Bell’s theorem, and messenger RNA we may have none at all. When a scientist is investigating by himself, the class of premises he will select from is the catalogue of all the raw starting-points of his science, despite a natural human inclination to do otherwise: Yet . . people seem to inquire up to a certain point but not as far as it is possible to take the puzzle.