The Ethics of Aristotle

Grant, Sir Alexander. The Ethics of Aristotle, 4th ed. 2 vols. New York: Arno Press, 1973.


” In studying the philosophy of Aristotle, we encounter at the outset a very difficult question with regard to the genuineness, the form, and the literary  character of the works in which that philosophy is contained. The question, in its full scope and real earnestness, is of recent origin, though skeptical theories concerning the text of Aristotle had been at various times mooted, as, for instance, by Strabo and by Patricius. We stand now in a very different position with regard to Aristotle from that occupied by the middle ages, or even by the scholars of the Renaissance.  Once the full body of what our called the writings of Aristotle were received with equal reverence, though not by any means equally studied.  A sort of dogmatic completeness, and almost a verbal nicety of finish was thought to pervade the whole;  and we accordingly find Thomas Aquinas discussing why it was that Aristotle makes an up to you and his Ethics  for attacking theories of Plato, while in the Metaphysics  he attack  them without any such apology.  Thomas Aquinas decides the reason to have been that in a treatise on morals due attention to good manners was particularly necessary.  Such criticism appears ludicrous in our times.  Our eyes have become more and more opened to the incomplete and fragmentary character of Aristotle’s remains.  In what are called his works we know that we have a considerable nucleus of the actual writing of Aristotle himself. Also we have a concretion og Peripatetic  philosophy, some of it nearly contemporary with Aristotle, other parts far later. Also, even in books that are most essentially genuine, we can recognize the hands of the editor; we can trace what is probably posthumous recension,  joining was added of parts before disunited, references introduced, come lesion as far as possible, or the semblance of completion, give in to what was really in itself left incomplete.”

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