The Nicomachean Ethics Book 1, Chapter 1 (1094a1-19)
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Book 1, Chapter 1 (1094a1-19)
- Aristotle opens his inquiry by contemplating what is good.
- Everything, he says, aims at what is good. Since he loves to categorize, Aristotle is going to break it down for us. (Oh, will he ever.)
- The ends (i.e. the ultimate good at which a person is aiming) differ depending on the field or activity a person is working in.
- So for military leadership ("generalship") the end would be victory.
- Within each field there are different "capacities": making horse bridles belongs to horsemanship, which in turn belongs to warfare (cavalry), which belongs to generalship.
- But of these categories, the "architectonic" ones—the ones that systematize knowledge, creating structure for the field—are the absolute best ones.
- To be more precise, the ends of the architectonic ones are the most "choiceworthy" because all the arts beneath them (i.e. bridle-making) exist for the sake of them (i.e. generalship).
- Dang, Aristotle. You're a smart dude.