The Ethics of Aristotle is one half of a single treatise of which his Politics is the other half. Both deal with one and the same subject. This subject is what Aristotle calls in one place the "philosophy of human affairs;" but more frequently Political or Social Science. In the two works taken together we have their author's whole theory of human conduct or practical activity, that is, of all human activity which is not directed merely to knowledge or truth.
ter constitute "character," each of them as a "moral virtue" (literally "a goodness of character"), and upon them primarily depends the realisation of happiness. This is the case at least for the great majority of men, and for all men their possession is an indispensable basis of the best, i e, the most desirable life. They form the chief or central subject-matter of the Ethics.
Perhaps the truest way of conceiving Aristotle's meaning here is to regard a moral virtue as a form of obedience to a maxim or rule of conduct accepted by the agent as valid for a class of recurrent situations in human life. Such obedience requires knowledge of the rule and acceptance of it as the rule of the agent's own actions, but not necessarily knowledge of its ground or of its systematic connexion with other similarly known and similarly accepted rules (It may be remarked that the Greek word usually translated "reason," means in almost all cases in the Ethics such a rule, and not the fa
The essence of a human being is man, while individual substances come and go. A man gets old but he is still in essence the same man. A man can become musical, but musical is not man. Individual substances come into the man, and leave the man, but the man is still a man before they come.