Having witnessed the unjust exactions of a democracy at Athens, the dwindling population of an oligarchy at Sparta, and the oppressive selfishness of new tyrannies throughout the Greek world, he condemned the actual constitutions of the Greek states as deviations (7rapec- (3do as) directed merely to the good of the government; and he contemplated a right constitution (607) 7roAtTeia), which might be either a commonwealth, an aristocracy or a monarchy, directed to the general good; but he preferred the monarchy of one man, pre-eminent in virtue above the rest, as the best of all governments (Nicomachean Ethics, viii.
[According to Zeller, an abstract of the Nicomachean and the Eudemian Ethics, tending to follow the latter, but possibly an early draft of the Nicomachean Ethics.] 3 'H9LKa EbSi) pea or 7rpos Ebbnp.ov: Ethica ad Eudemum: On the same subject.
[Usually supposed to be written by Eudemus, but possibly an early draft of the Nicomachean Ethics.] 4.1 and vices.
Of pleasure in the Nicomachean Ethics, vii.
The Nicomachean Ethics, the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia; or, strangest of all, a consecutive treatise and other discourses amalgamated, e.g.
In De Interp. 13, 22 a 22; Nicomachean Ethics, ii.
Thus the Nicomachean Ethics begins by identifying the good with happiness (euSaeµovia), and happiness with virtuous action.
The probability is that the Nicomachean Ethics is a collection of separate discourses worked up into a tolerably systematic treatise; and the interesting point is that these discourses correspond to separate titles in the list of Diogenes Laertius (7rep1 KaXou, irepi Sucalcwv, irepi q5tXias, 7repi )Sovfjs, and 7repi ijlovwv).
Nevertheless, the most usual hypothesis is that, while the Nicomachean Ethics (E.N.) was written by Aristotle to Nicomachus, the Eudemian (E.E.) was written, not to, but by, Eudemus, and the Magna Moralia (M.M.) was written by some early disciple before the introduction of Stoic and Academic elements into the Peripatetic school.
The question is further complicated by the fact that three Nicomachean books (E.N.
A - Z) are common to the two treatises, and by the consequent question whether, on the hypothesis of different authorship, the common books, as we may style them, were written for the Nicomachean by Aristotle, or for the Eudemian Ethics by Eudemus, or some by one and some by the other author.
Of the Nicomachean, which is Z of the Eudemian, pleasure is defined as i v pyELa g EEws itvEgn-66LUTos (chap. 12, 1153 a 14-15); and in the Magna Moralia as Klv7wcs alma Kai 114pyeca (ii.
As then we find this identification of pleasure with activity in the Metaphysics and in the De Anima, as well as in the Nicomachean Ethics, the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia, the only logical conclusion, from which there is no escape, is that, so far as the treatment of pleasure goes, any Aristotelian treatise which defines it as activity is genuine.
There is no reason for doubting that the Nicomachean Ethics to the end of Book vii., the Eudemian Ethics to the end of Book Z, and the Magna Moralia as far as Book ii.
It is because the Nicomachean Ethics contains a second discourse on pleasure (x.
Moreover, the distinction between activity and pleasure in the tenth book is really fatal to the consistency of the whole Nicomachean Ethics, which started in the first book with the identification of happiness and virtuous activity.
It is further remarkable that the Nicomachean Ethics proceeds to a different conclusion.
8-10) on these points is unlike the Nicomachean, and like the Eudemian Ethics in discussing good fortune and gentlemanliness, but it discusses them in a more worldly way.
Thereupon it proceeds to a discourse on friendship, which in the Nicomachean and Eudemian Ethics is discussed in an earlier position, but breaks off unfinished.
But the Eudemian Ethics and the Magna Moralia are more rudimentary than the Nicomachean Ethics, which as it were seems to absorb them except in the conclusion.
They are all such rudiments as Aristotle might well polish into the more developed expositions in the first four books of the Nicomachean Ethics.
It is true, as Dr Henry Jackson has pointed out, though with some exaggeration, that the Eudemian agrees in detail rather better than the Nicomachean treatment of the voluntary with the subsequent discussion of injury (E.E.
After this, it can never be said that the earlier books of the Eudemian Ethics are so good a preparation as those of the Nicomachean Ethics for the distinction between prudence (Opov j ats) and wisdom (a001a), which is the main point of the common books, and one of Aristotle's main points against Plato's philosophy.
Indeed, the final proof that the Eudemian Ethics is earlier than the Nicomachean is the very fact that it is more under Platonic influence.
Secondly, the Eudemian Ethics, while not agreeing with Plato's Republic that the just can be happy by justice alone, does not assign to the external goods of good fortune (Eutu X ia) the prominence accorded to them in the Nicomachean Ethics as the necessary conditions of all virtue, and the instruments of moral virtue.
The determination of the limit of good fortune and of gentlemanliness by looking to the ruler, God, who governs as the end for which prudence gives its orders, and the conclusion that the best limit is the most conducive to the service and contemplation of God, presents the Deity and man's relation to him as a final and objective standard more definitely in the Eudemian than in the Nicomachean Ethics, which only goes so far as to say that man's highest end is the speculative wisdom which is divine, like God, dearest to God.
Because, then, it is very like, but more rudimentary and more Platonic, we conclude that the Eudemian is an earlier draft of the Nicomachean Ethics, written by Aristotle when he was still in process of transition from Plato's ethics to his own.
The Magna Moralia contains similar evidence of being earlier than the Nicomachean Ethics.
In dealing with justice, it does not make it clear, as the Nicomachean Ethics (Book v.) does, that even universal justice is virtue towards another (M.M.
In dealing with what the Nicomachean Ethics (Book vi.) calls intellectual virtues, but the Magna Moralia (i.
In these points it is a better preparation for the Nicomachean Ethics.
Of all these descendants of the Nicomachean recension, the oldest is the Codex Parisinus of the 10th century, and the best the Codex Mediceus or Florentinus of the i ith.
Commentaries on books 1 -4, 7 (in part), and 8 of the Nicomachean Ethics are preserved; that on book 8 was printed with those of Eustratius and others by Aldus Manutius at Venice in 1536.
In dealing with continence and incontinence, the same doubts and solutions occur as in the Nicomachean Ethics (Book vii.
Z), but sometimes confusing doubts and solutions together, instead of first proposing all the doubts and then supplying the solutions as in the Nicomachean Ethics.
Such rudimentary and imperfect sketches would be quite excusable in a first draft, but inexcusable and incredible after the Nicomachean Ethics had been written.
Indeed, in some respects it is more like the Eudemian, though in the main more like the Nicomachean Ethics.
3, 1184 b 5-6); but does not make so much of it as the distinction between prudence and wisdom blurred in the Eudemian but defined in the Nicomachean Ethics.
8-9), where the Nicomachean Ethics places the speculative and the practical life; but it omits the theological element by denying that good fortune is divine grace, and by submitting gentlemanliness to no standard but that of right reason, when the irrational part of the soul does not hinder the rational part, or intellect (vows), from doing its work.
Because, then, the Magna Moralia is very like the Nicomachean Ethics, but more rudimentary, nearer to the Platonic dialogues in style and to a less degree in matter, and also like the Eudemian Ethics, we conclude that it is also like that treatise in having been written as an earlier draft of the Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle himself.
Nicomachean means " addressed to Nicomachus," and Eudemian " addressed to Eudemus "; but, as Cicero thought that the Nicomachean Ethics was written by Nicomachus, so the author of the Scholium thought that the Eudemian Ethics, at least so far as the first account of pleasure goes, was written by Eudemus.
He only thought so, however, because Aristotle could not have written both accounts of pleasure; and, taking for granted that Aristotle had written the second account of pleasure in the Nicomachean Ethics (Book x.), he concluded that the first account (Book vii.) was not the work of Aristotle, but of Eudemus (Comm.