Quotes from The Nicomachean Ethics

Aristotle ·  329 pages

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“One swallow does not make a summer, neither does one fine day; similarly one day or brief time of happiness does not make a person entirely happy.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Without friends, no one would want to live, even if he had all other goods.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The wise man does not expose himself needlessly to danger, since there are few things for which he cares sufficiently; but he is willing, in great crises, to give even his life--knowing that under certain conditions it is not worth while to live. He is of a disposition to do men service, though he is ashamed to have a service done to him. To confer a kindness is a mark of superiority; to receive one is a mark of subordination... He does not take part in public displays... He is open in his dislikes and preferences; he talks and acts frankly, because of his contempt for men and things... He is never fired with admiration, since there is nothing great in his eyes. He cannot live in complaisance with others, except it be a friend; complaisance is the characteristic of a slave... He never feels malice, and always forgets and passes over injuries... He is not fond of talking... It is no concern of his that he should be praised, or that others should be blamed. He does not speak evil of others, even of his enemies, unless it be to themselves. His carriage is sedate, his voice deep, his speech measured; he is not given to hurry, for he is concerned about only a few things; he is not prone to vehemence, for he thinks nothing very important. A shrill voice and hasty steps come to a man through care... He bears the accidents of life with dignity and grace, making the best of his circumstances, like a skillful general who marshals his limited forces with the strategy of war... He is his own best friend, and takes delight in privacy whereas the man of no virtue or ability is his own worst enemy, and is afraid of solitude.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“These virtues are formed in man by his doing the actions ... The good of man is a working of the soul in the way of excellence in a complete life.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Freedom is obedience to self-formulated rules.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Bad people...are in conflict with themselves; they desire one thing and will another, like the incontinent who choose harmful pleasures instead of what they themselves believe to be good.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The self-indulgent man craves for all pleasant things... and is led by his appetite to choose these at the cost of everything else.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“With the truth, all given facts harmonize; but with what is false, the truth soon hits a wrong note.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“We must not listen to those who advise us 'being men to think human thoughts, and being mortal to think mortal thoughts' but must put on immortality as much as possible and strain every nerve to live according to that best part of us, which, being small in bulk, yet much more in its power and honour surpasses all else.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The pleasures arising from thinking and learning will make us think and learn all the more. 1153a 23”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Happiness does not lie in amusement; it would be strange if one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse oneself”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Virtue lies in our power, and similarly so does vice; because where it is in our power to act, it is also in our power not to act...”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Even in adversity, nobility shines through, when a man endures repeated and severe misfortune with patience, not owing to insensibility but from generosity and greatness of soul.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Happiness then, is found to be something perfect and self sufficient, being the end to which our actions are directed.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Moral experience—the actual possession and exercise of good character—is necessary truly to understand moral principles and profitably to apply them.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“It is well said, then, that it is by doing just acts that the just man is produced, and by doing temperate acts the temperate man; without doing these no one would have even a prospect of becoming good.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“There are three kinds of constitution, and an equal number of deviation-forms--perversions, as it were, of them. The constitutions are monarchy, aristocracy, and thirdly that which is based on a property qualification, which it seems appropriate to call timocratic, though most people are wont to call it polity. The best of these is monarchy, the worst timocracy. The deviation from monarchy is tyranny; for both are forms of one-man rule, but there is the greatest difference between them; the tyrant looks to his own advantage, the king to that of his subjects. For a man is not a king unless he is sufficient to himself and excels his subjects in all good things; and such a man needs nothing further; therefore he will not look to his own interests but to those of his subjects; for a king who is not like that would be a mere titular king. Now tyranny is the very contrary of this; the tyrant pursues his own good. And it is clearer in the case of tyranny that it is the worst deviation-form; but it is the contrary of the best that is worst. Monarchy passes over into tyranny; for tyranny is the evil form of one-man rule and the bad king becomes a tyrant. Aristocracy passes over into oligarchy by the badness of the rulers, who distribute contrary to equity what belongs to the city-all or most of the good things to themselves, and office always to the same people, paying most regard to wealth; thus the rulers are few and are bad men instead of the most worthy. Timocracy passes over into democracy; for these are coterminous, since it is the ideal even of timocracy to be the rule of the majority, and all who have the property qualification count as equal. Democracy is the least bad of the deviations;”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“What is evil neither can nor should be loved; for it is not one’s duty to be a lover of evil or to become like what is bad; and we have said that like is dear to like. Must the friendship, then, be forthwith broken off? Or is this not so in all cases, but only when one’s friends are incurable in their wickedness? If they are capable of being reformed one should rather come to the assistance of their character or their property, inasmuch as this is better and more characteristic of friendship. But a man who breaks off such a friendship would seem to be doing nothing strange; for it was not to a man of this sort that he was a friend; when his friend changed, therefore, and he is unable to save him, he gives him up.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Hay 3 cosas que siempre vamos a preferir: lo bueno, lo útil y lo placentero.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“Such [communistic] legislation may have a specious appearance of benevolence; men readily listen to it, and are easily induced to believe that in some wonderful manner everybody will become everybody's friend, especially when some one is heard denouncing the evils now existing in states, suits about contracts, convictions for perjury, flatteries of rich men and the like, which are said to arise out of the possession of private property. These evils, however, are due to a very different cause - the wickedness of human nature. Indeed, we see that there is much more quarrelling among those who have all things in common, though there are not many of them when compared with the vast numbers who have private property.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“bad men... aim at getting more than their share of advantages, while in labor and public service they fall short of their share; and each man wishing for advantage to himself criticizes his neighbor and stands in his way; for if people do not watch it carefully the common weal is soon destroyed. The result is that they are in a state of faction, putting compulsion on each other but unwilling themselves to do what is just.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“How can a man know what is good or best for him, and yet chronically fail to act upon his knowledge?”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“The beginning seems to be more than half of the whole.”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

“But to die to escape from poverty or love or anything painful is not the mark of a brave man, but rather of a coward; for it is softness to fly from what is troublesome,”
― Aristotle, quote from The Nicomachean Ethics

About the author

Born place: in Stageira, Greece
Born date February 16, 0384
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