Study Guide

The Nicomachean Ethics Book 7, Chapter 11 (1152b1-20)

By Aristotle

Book 7, Chapter 11 (1152b1-20)

  • Philosophers of "political art" have to think about pleasures and pain because they create a framework to evaluate goodness and badness (i.e. laws).
  • It's also important to deal with them because pleasure is said to lead to happiness. And we're still talking about how to get happy, right?
  • Here's the question of the year: is pleasure good? Aristotle says that it's generally not thought to be so.
  • Problems: 1) pleasure is a process, but goods are complete in themselves; 2) moderate people don't dig pleasure; 3) pleasures distract from prudent thought; 4) everything good is an art (pleasure is not an art); 5) even children and animals love pleasure (eew).
  • Pleasures can also be shameful, which isn't good.
  • Some also claim that pleasure isn't an end in itself, which makes it less choiceworthy than other things.