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Aristotle's Dialogue with SocratesOn the "Nicomachean Ethics"$
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Ronna Burger

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780226080505

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226080543.001.0001

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(p.190) 7 Happiness
Aristotle's Dialogue with Socrates
University of Chicago Press

Book IX of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics ended with a description of friends pursuing together the activities in which they each take pleasure. Friendship was found to be necessary for happiness above all insofar as it makes possible a self-awareness without which one would not recognize the goodness of being alive. Book X opens with an account of how pleasure graces an activity through which such awareness is achieved. In approaching, first, the negative opinion about pleasure, Book X creates a frame for the argument of the Ethics as a whole with an implicit reminder of the first appearance of the topic: when pleasure was put forward as a candidate for the human good, it was immediately rejected as a view of the vulgar many, without any analysis of what pleasure is or what forms it can take. The problem of the weakness of speeches set in motion Aristotle's long debate with Socrates, which began when he borrowed the formula for Socratic philosophy—“taking refuge in logoi”—to criticize the many, who believe speeches are sufficient for acquiring virtue.

Keywords:   Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, virtue, friendship, happiness, pleasure, speeches, Socrates, human good, logoi

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