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yourself if it is the good that you would seek.The translation we use is by J.A.K. Thomson. It is chosen primarily because of its accessibility to modern readers.Yeung Yang
1471094a510fromNicomachean Ethicsby AristotleITHE OBJECT OF LIFEi. Every rational activity aims at some end or good. One end (like one activity) may be subordinate to anotherEvery art and every investigation, and similarly every action and pursuit, is considered to aim at some good. Hence the good has been rightly defined as “that at which all things aim”. Clearly, however, there is some difference between the ends at which they aim: some are activities and others results distinct from the activities. Where there are ends distinct from the actions, the results are by nature superior to the activities. Since there are many actions, arts and sciences, it follows that their ends are many too—the end of medical science is health; of military science, victory; of economic science,1wealth. In the case of all skills of this kind that come under 1i.e. household or property management.From The Nicomachean Ethics, translated by J. A. K. Thomson, revised with notes and appendcies by Hugh Tredennick (Penguin Classics 1955, Revised edition 1976). Reproduced by permission of Penguin Books Ltd.
148與人文對話In Dialogue with Humanity152025(1095b) 1520a single faculty—as a skill in making bridles or any other part of a horse’s trappings comes under horsemanship, while this and every kind of military action comes under military science, so in the same way other skills are subordinate to yet others—in all these the ends of the directive arts are to be preferred in every case to those of the subordinate ones, because it is for the sake of the former that the latter are pursued also. It makes no difference whether the ends of the actions are the activities themselves or something apart from them, as in the case of the sciences we have mentioned. If, then, our activities have some end which we want for its own sake, and for the sake of which we want all the other ends—if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (for this will involve an infinite progression, so that our aim will be pointless and ineffectual)—it is clear that this must be the good, that is, the supreme good. Does it not follow, then, that a knowledge of the good is of great importance to us for the conduct of our lives? Are we not more likely to achieve our aim if we have a target? If this is so, we must try to describe at least in outline what the good really is, and by which of the sciences or faculties2it is studied. [. . .]v. The three types of life. Neither pleasure nor public honour seems to be an adequate end; the contemplative life will be considered laterBut let us resume from the point at which we digressed. To judge by their lives, the masses and the most vulgar seem—not unreasonably—to believe that the good or happiness is pleasure. Accordingly they ask for nothing better than the life of enjoyment. (Broadly speaking, there are three main types of life: the one just mentioned, the political and, thirdly, the contemplative.