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Unformatted text preview: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics and Politics Aristotle on the aim of ethical inquiry: it is practice, which Aristotle distinguishes from either having good intentions, or merely good results. Since, then, the present inquiry does not aim at theoretical knowledge…, we must examine the nature of actions, namely how we ought to do them; for these determine also the nature of the states of character that are produced… (Eth. Nic. II.ii) “Life is action and not production” (Pol. I.iv) Kant: “A good will is not good because of its effects or accomplishments, and not because of its adequacy to achieve any proposed end: it is good only by virtue of its willing—that is, it is good in itself ” (161). Aristotle on how to achieve the end of ethics: by life in a polis, which is the first self-sufficient unit of human life and therefore “prior” to all other levels of analysis Human being: “…language serves to declare what is advantageous and what is the reverse, and it is the peculiarity of man, in comparison with other animals, that he alone possesses a perception of good and evil, of the just and unjust, and other similar qualities; and it is association in these things which makes a family and a city” o Bare individual: “He who is without a city, by reason of his own nature and not of some accident, is either a poor sort of being, or a being higher than man” (Pol. I.ii) Household: “Male and female must unite for the reproduction of the species—not from deliberate intention,...
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