Philosophy of Aristotle

Philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Trans. Muhsin Mahdi. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press, 1962.


“1. Aristotle sees the perfection of man as Plato sees it and more. However, because man’s perfection is not self-evident or easy to explain by a demonstration leading to certainty, he saw fit to start from a position anterior to that from which Plato had started. He saw four things that everyone pursues from the outset and considers desirable and good – they are desired and pursued by nature, as it were, from the beginning, and no other pursuit precedes them in time: (1) the soundness of the human body, (2) the soundness of the senses, (3) the soundness of the capacity for knowing how to discern what leads to the soundness of the body and the senses, and (4) the soundness of the power to labor at what leads to their soundness. This (3) is the kind of knowledge that is useful and necessary. And this (4) is the kind of labor that is useful, necessary, and preferred to everything else, be it the labor of a man by himself, or accompanied by the labor of others for him, or accompanied by his labor for others, and whether he performs it by deed or speech. The deed by which this labor s performed is the useful and necessary deed that has priority, and the speech by which this labor is performed is the useful and necessary speech. Beyond this, one may prefer also that these four things exist in the most excellent state of their soundness.”

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