Bochumer Philosophisches Jahrbuch für Antike und Mittelalter: Band 8. 2003
  • ISSN 1384-6663
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9684
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In his Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle gives us two definitions of happiness (eudaimonia): In book I he defines eudaimonia as activity in accordance with the best and most perfect virtue, and very much later in the treatise, in book X, he states that the contemplative life of the philosopher is the most blessed life, and the life of the politician only second in rank. This paper argues that most interpreters have misunderstood the first definition (i.e. they have not correctly identified the best and most perfect virtue) due to the temptation to read the first book with the tenth in mind. A new interpretation of the first definition is corroborated and linked with Aristotle’s statements in book X, so that the entire work seems to be more consistent. Furthermore, a solution to the vexed problem whether moral virtues play a role in the contemplative life is suggested.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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