1214 a 15μεθόδῳ. πρῶτον δὲ σκεπτέον ἐν τίνι τὸ εὖ ζῆν4 καὶ πῶς κτητόν, πότερον φύσει γίνονται πάντες εὐδαίμονες οἱ τυγχάνοντες ταύτης τῆς προσηγορίας, ὥσπερ μεγάλοι καὶ μικροὶ καὶ τὴν χροιὰν διαφέροντες, ἢ διὰ μαθήσεως, ὡς οὔσης ἐπιστήμης τινὸς τῆς εὐδαιμονίας, ἢ διά τινος ἀσκήσεως 20(πολλὰ γὰρ οὔτε κατὰ φύσιν οὔτε μαθοῦσιν ἀλλ᾿ ἐθισθεῖσιν ὑπάρχει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, φαῦλα μὲν τοῖς φαύλως ἐθισθεῖσι, χρηστὰ δὲ τοῖς χρηστῶς); ἢ τούτων μὲν κατ᾿ οὐδένα τῶν τρόπων, δυοῖν δὲ5 θάτερον, ἤτοι καθάπερ οἱ νυμφόληπτοι καὶ θεόληπτοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἐπιπνοίᾳ δαιμονίου τινὸς 25ὥσπερ ἐνθουσιάζοντες, ἢ διὰ τὴν τύχην (πολλοὶ γὰρ ταὐτόν φασιν εἶναι τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν καὶ τὴν εὐτυχίαν).
Ὅτι μὲν οὖν ἡ παρουσία1 διὰ τούτων ἁπάντων ἢ6 τινῶν ἢ τινὸς ὑπάρχει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, οὐκ ἄδηλον· ἅπασαι γὰρ αἱ γενέσεις σχεδὸν πίπτουσιν εἰς ταύτας τὰς ἀρχάς (καὶ γὰρ τὰς2 ἀπὸ τῆς διανοίας 30ἁπάσας πρὸς τὰς ἀπ᾿ ἐπιστήμης ἄν τις συναγάγοι πράξεις). τὸ δ᾿ εὐδαιμονεῖν καὶ τὸ ζῆν μακαρίως7 καὶ καλῶς εἴη ἂν ἐν τρισὶ μάλιστα τοῖς εἶναι δοκοῦσιν αἱρετωτάτοις· οἱ μὲν γὰρ τὴν φρόνησιν μέγιστον εἶναί φασιν ἀγαθόν, οἱ δὲ τὴν ἀρετήν, οἱ δὲ τὴν ἡδονήν. καὶ πρὸς τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν ἔνιοι8 1214 bπερὶ τοῦ μεγέθους αὐτῶν διαμφισβητοῦσι, συμβάλλεσθαι φάσκοντες θάτερον θατέρου μᾶλλον εἰς
4But we must consider first what the good life consists in and how it is to be obtained—whether all of those who receive the designation ‘happy’ acquire happiness by nature, as is the case with tallness and shortness of stature and differences of complexion, or by study, which would imply that there is a science of happiness, or by some form of training, for there are many human attributes that are not bestowed by nature nor acquired by study but gained by habituation—bad attributes by those trained in bad habits and good attributes by those trained in good ones. 5Or does happiness come in none of these ways, but either by a sort of elevation of mind inspired by some divine power, as in the case of persons possessed by a nymph or a god, or, alternatively, by fortune? for many people identify happiness with good fortune.
6Now it is pretty clear that the presence of happiness is bestowed upon men by all of these things, or by some or one of them; for almost all the modes in which it is produced fall under these principles, inasmuch as all the acts that spring from thought may be included with those that spring from knowledge. 7But to be happy and to live blissfully and finely its three main constituents, may consist chiefly in three things deemed to be most desirable: some people say that Wisdoma is the greatest good, others Goodnessband others 8Pleasure. And certain persons debate about their importance in relation to happiness, declaring that one contributes more to it than another—some holding
- aThe Greek term here still retains the general sense that it has in Plato. In the Nicomachean Ethics it is limited to Practical Wisdom, prudentia, ‘prudence,’ as distinct from θεωρία, sapientia, ‘speculative wisdom.’
- b It must always be remembered that the Greek term is less limited in meaning than ‘virtue,’ and may denote excellence in any department, not only moral goodness.