What this work is and how it is a third order derivative.

This is not exactly the Nicomachean Ethics, and I decided it best not to call it that. I was trying to understand translations of the Nicomachean Ethics, and decided to write this to help. By setting up this mark to aim at, I hope to be more likely to hit on the truth in Aristotle's teachings. This is a kind of third order derivative from Aristotle, or triple prime:

  1. Aristotle himself.
  2. The Nicomachean Ethics (whoever put them together) in Greek.
  3. Various translations into English: W.D. Ross (1925), F.H. Peters (1881).
  4. This work.

Note that I had thought that the W.D. Ross work was in the public domain, but it will not be until 2020. It is possible (though uncertain) that there are a few phrases contained in the following pages which I could not think of any better way to put than the Ross translation. On revision, I will look to be sure of that.

Going to stop using the Ross translation until I get a copy of it myself and look to verify the legality of deriving this work from it (which I presume will be fine). Will rather look for another translation which I can verify is in the public domain and will use the Peters translation as well.

I am sharing this out and hope that it will help you with your studies. I cannot say how accurately it represents Aristotle's thinking. Still, I think you may get plenty good out of it.

I have tried to keep the language as very basic English. I have tried to write it as something that could be spoken by one person to another and understood by most anyone. (And if you read it out loud, that may help you with getting it.)

I am not going for textual accuracy here. (You can use the direct translations for that.) I have filled out areas with things not found in the translations. This is mostly adding examples and explaining things in more detail. I tried to make the arguments both strong and easy-to-understand.

Doing this makes more sense for Aristotle than perhaps any other philosopher, in my opinion. The Aristotle I read is like the one depicted here, on the right. He tries very much to keep things grounded and make sense out of everyday language, and assumes that there is something behind the words people normally use. So it makes sense, to me, to try to get the spirit of his thinking and put it into English words and phrases that also are naturally meaningful. I think of Aristotle like this as compared with Plato, who I read as having deep intuitions and arguing that most people do not know what they are talking about when they use words and how they have the wrong definitions (really, conceptions). If Plato is often about showing how people do not know what they think they know, Aristotle is often about figuring out how much we (instinctively) do know without knowing it. (But do not get me wrong, the work of Plato is great.)

At this point, this is still a work-in-progress. There are still many sections left to complete, and I will likely edit what has been put out so far. I decided this is better than waiting to finish the whole thing first. I think I am actually more likely to get the whole thing done by putting it out piece-by-piece.

All-in-all, this is turning out to be a very good exercise, and I would recommend anyone give it a try for a work that they are trying to understand.

But enough about these things, let us now go on to the text.


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