Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 6, Chapter 4 (1140a1-23)

By Aristotle

Book 6, Chapter 4 (1140a1-23)

  • Aristotle differentiates between action and "making," or creating. For one thing, the characteristics involved in each are different.
  • Making is an art "accompanied by reason." Art is process-oriented: it is concerned with bringing something abstract or representative into being.
  • The maker is always the origin of the art—not the thing made.
  • Aristotle says also that things may also be without art, if they "exist of necessity or naturally," since they don't require the intervention of a maker.
  • So Aristotle's definition of art: a characteristic (or virtue) coupled with the act of creating that's governed by correct reason.
  • Artlessness or lack of skill is a characteristic coupled with the act of creating, but accompanied by false or poor reasoning.