Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

LCL 73: 4-5

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Aristotle

ἄλλαι ὑφ᾿ ἑτέρας—ἐν ἁπάσαις δὴ1 τὰ τῶν ἀρχιτεκτονικῶν τέλη πάντων ἐστὶν αἱρετώτερα τῶν ὑπ᾿15 5αὐτά· τούτων γὰρ χάριν κἀκεῖνα διώκεται. (διαφέρει δ᾿ οὐδὲν τὰς ἐνεργείας αὐτὰς εἶναι τὰ τέλη τῶν πράξεων ἢ παρὰ ταύτας ἄλλο τι, καθάπερ ἐπὶ τῶν λεχθεισῶν ἐπιστημῶν.)

iiΕἰ δή τι τέλος ἐστὶ τῶν πρακτῶν ὃ δι᾿ αὑτὸ βουλόμεθα, τἆλλα δὲ διὰ τοῦτο, καὶ μὴ πάντα δι᾿20 ἕτερον αἱρούμεθα (πρόεισι γὰρ οὕτω γ᾿ εἰς ἄπειρον, ὥστ᾿ εἶναι κενὴν καὶ ματαίαν τὴν ὄρεξιν), δῆλον 2ὡς τοῦτ᾿ ἂν εἴη τἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ ἄριστον. ἆρ᾿ οὖν καὶ πρὸς τὸν βίον ἡ γνῶσις αὐτοῦ μεγάλην ἔχει ῥοπήν, καὶ καθάπερ τοξόται σκοπὸν ἔχοντες, 3μᾶλλον ἂν τυγχάνοιμεν τοῦ δέοντος; εἰ δ᾿ οὕτω,25 πειρατέον τύπῳ γε περιλαβεῖν αὐτὸ τί ποτ᾿ ἐστὶ 4καὶ τίνος τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ἢ δυνάμεων. δόξειε δ᾿ ἂν τῆς κυριωτάτης καὶ μάλιστα ἀρχιτεκτονικῆς. 5, 6τοιαύτη δ᾿ ἡ πολιτικὴ φαίνεται· τίνας γὰρ εἶναι χρεὼν τῶν ἐπιστημῶν ἐν ταῖς πόλεσι, καὶ ποίας1094 b ἑκάστους μανθάνειν καὶ μέχρι τίνος, αὕτη διατάσσει· ὁρῶμεν δὲ καὶ τὰς ἐντιμοτάτας τῶν δυνάμεων ὑπὸ ταύτην οὔσας, οἷον στρατηγικὴν οἰκονομικὴν

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Nicomachean Ethics, I.

similarly other arts to different arts again—in all these cases, I say, the ends of the master arts are things more to be desired than all those of the arts subordinate to them; since the latter ends are only 5pursued for the sake of the former. (And it makes no difference whether the ends of the pursuits are the activities themselves or some other thing beside these, as in the case of the sciences mentioned.)

iiIf therefore among the ends at which our actionsThe ultimate End, which is the Supreme Good, is the End of Political Science. aim there be one which we wish for its own sake, while we wish the others only for the sake of this, and if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (which would obviously result in a process ad infinitum, so that all desire would be futile and vain), it is clear that this one ultimate End must 2be the Good, and indeed the Supreme Good. Will not then a knowledge of this Supreme Good be also of great practical importance for the conduct of life? Will it not better enable us to attain what is fitting, 3like archers having a target to aim at? If this be so, we ought to make an attempt to determine at all events in outline what exactly this Supreme Good is, and of which of the theoretical or practical sciences it is the object.

4Now it would be agreed that it must be the object of the most authoritative of the sciences—some 5science which is pre-eminently a master-craft. But 6such is manifestly the science of Politics; for it is this that ordains which of the sciences are to exist in states, and what branches of knowledge the different classes of the citizens are to learn, and up to what point; and we observe that even the most highly esteemed of the faculties, such as strategy, domestic economy, oratory, are subordinate to the

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristotle-nicomachean_ethics.1926