Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 6, Chapter 1 (1138a19-1139a17)

By Aristotle

Book 6, Chapter 1 (1138a19-1139a17)

  • Aristotle wants to talk more specifically about the middle term, or the mean. So far, he's spoken about it as "not too much and not too little," according to correct reason.
  • But now he calls out that definition as problematic, since it isn't very precise or scientific.
  • So to make things clearer, Aristotle says he'll define correct reason (also called "right reason" by other scholars) to give us better tools to know how to behave well and be happy.
  • To begin with, he further divides the two-part soul. The rational soul has two further divisions.
  • There's the bit that comprehends fixed knowledge (things that "don't admit to being otherwise").
  • And then there's the bit that deliberates about things that are debatable (things that "admit to being otherwise"). He calls this the "calculative" part of the rational soul.
  • Aristotle proposes to talk about the virtues related to each of these parts of the rational soul (or reason).