Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 10, Chapter 1 (1172a19-1172b8)

By Aristotle

Book 10, Chapter 1 (1172a19-1172b8)

  • We've made it all the way to the last book, and we're finally getting to pleasure.
  • Which is our favorite. Obviously.
  • Pleasure's very powerful for human beings, says Aristotle. We use it, along with pain, to raise our children (think "carrot" and "stick").
  • The trick to pleasure is learning to enjoy the kinds of things we should (in the right amounts) and to avoid the things that might bring pleasure but might also destroy our virtue.
  • Pleasure's often considered a bad thing because so many people focus all their energies on obtaining it—sometimes at any cost.
  • But Aristotle isn't convinced. He knows from experience that this isn't the situation for all people and all pleasures.
  • People tend to overreact, however, when they see that someone who shuns pleasure is actually seeking it out. They say that the person is corrupt without understanding human nature properly.