Nicomachean Ethics Quotes

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  • He is his own best friend and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy and is afraid of solitude.

  • It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good. But most people do not do these, but take refuge in theory and think they are being philosophers and will become good in this way, behaving somewhat like patients who listen attentively to their doctors, but do none of the things they are ordered to do.

    Thinking   Men   Doctors  
    Aristotle, (2014). “Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume 2: The Revised Oxford Translation”, p.1746, Princeton University Press
  • Happiness does not lie in amusement; it would be strange if one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse oneself.

    Happiness   Lying   Order  
  • It is the mark of an educated man to look for precision in each class of things just so far as the nature of the subject admits

    Men   Class   Looks  
    Aristotle (2013). “The Essential Aristotle”, p.487, Simon and Schuster
  • The vices respectively fall short of or exceed what is right in both passions and actions, while virtue both finds and chooses that which is intermediate.

    Fall   Passion   Vices  
    Aristotle, Aeterna Press (2015). “Nicomachean Ethics”, p.43, Aeterna Press
  • If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.

    Aristotle, (2014). “Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume 2: The Revised Oxford Translation”, p.1860, Princeton University Press
  • For just as for a flute-player, a sculptor, or an artist, and, in general, for all things that have a function or activity, the good and the well is thought to reside in the function, so would it seem to be for man, if he has a function.

    Artist   Player   Men  
    Aristotle (2013). “Delphi Complete Works of Aristotle (Illustrated)”, p.2578, Delphi Classics
  • Freedom is obedience to self-formulated rules.

  • It is unbecoming for young men to utter maxims.

  • We must as second best, as people say, take the least of the evils.

    Aristotle (1983). “Pocket Aristotle”, p.196, Simon and Schuster
  • The ideal man is his own best friend and takes delight in privacy.

    Single   Men   Silence  
  • It is possible to fail in many ways...while to succeed is possible only in one way.

    Nichomachean Ethics (c. 330 b.c.).
  • He who is unable to live in society, or who has no need because he is sufficient for himself, must be either a beast or a god.

    Politics bk. 1, 1253a
  • Men are good in but one way, but bad in many.

    Aristotle, (2014). “Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume 2: The Revised Oxford Translation”, p.1748, Princeton University Press
  • The generality of men are naturally apt to be swayed by fear rather than reverence, and to refrain from evil rather because of the punishment that it brings than because of its own foulness.

    Fear   Men   Evil  
    Aristotle (1885). “The Nicomachean Ethics”, p.185, Jazzybee Verlag
  • Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.

    Art   Choices   Inquiry  
    Nicomachean Ethics, bk.1, ch.1,1093 (translated by Sir David Ross).
  • We make war that we may live in peace.

    Nicomachean Ethics bk. 10, 1177b See Vegetius 1
  • The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.

    Aristotle (1953). “Ethics: The Nicomachean Ethics”
  • With the truth, all given facts harmonize; but with what is false, the truth soon hits a wrong note.

    Music   Facts   Notes  
    Aristotle, Robert C. Bartlett, Susan D. Collins (2012). “Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics”, p.14, University of Chicago Press
  • Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue finds and chooses the mean.

    Mean   Missing   Feelings  
    Aristotle, Terence Irwin, Gail Fine (1995). “Aristotle: Selections”, p.373, Hackett Publishing
  • For pleasure is a state of soul, and to each man that which he is said to be a lover of is pleasant.

    Men   Soul   Lovers  
    Aristotle (2013). “The Essential Aristotle”, p.495, Simon and Schuster
  • Bad people...are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.

    Believe   People   Desire  
  • Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit.

    Perfect   Virtue   Habit  
    Aristotle (2013). “The Essential Aristotle”, p.503, Simon and Schuster
  • For legislators make the citizens good by forming habits in them, and this is the wish of every legislator, and those who do not effect it miss their mark, and it is in this that a good constitution differs from a bad one.

    Missing   Wish   Citizens  
    Aristotle (2013). “The Essential Aristotle”, p.503, Simon and Schuster
  • In a word, acts of any kind produce habits or characters of the same kind. Hence we ought to make sure that our acts are of a certain kind; for the resulting character varies as they vary. It makes no small difference, therefore, whether a man be trained in his youth up in this way or that, but a great difference, or rather all the difference.

    "Nicomachean Ethics". Book by Aristotle. Book II, 1103b,
  • Everything that depends on the action of nature is by nature as good as it can be, and similarly everything that depends on art or any rational cause, and especially if it depends on the best of all causes.

    Art   Causes   Action  
    Aristotle (2016). “Pocket Aristotle”, p.170, Simon and Schuster
  • The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more. 1153a 23

  • The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.

    Aristotle, (2014). “Complete Works of Aristotle, Volume 2: The Revised Oxford Translation”, p.1732, Princeton University Press
  • Without friends no one would choose to live, though he had all other goods.

    Aristotle (2013). “The Essential Aristotle”, p.603, Simon and Schuster
  • For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.

    Summer   Blessed   Men  
    Nicomachean Ethics, bk.1, ch.7,1098 (translated by Sir David Ross).
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