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BOOK I, CH. 1-4


A Written Report by:

ADORA, Gabriel D.

BLANCO, Juan Miguel O.

CASTILLO, Horacio Tomas T. III

Submitted to:

Assoc. Prof. Fleurdeliz Altez-Albela, Ph.D.

MAY 03, 2017

Aristotle aims not only to know what virtue is, but also to understand how this is obtained

or how it is produced. In this effort, he cited multiple philosophers to who previously attempted

to give a holistic notion of virtue. First and foremost, he makes mention of Socrates, who used to

make the virtues sciences. Aristotle argues that the sciences involve reason, and reason is to be

found in the intellectual part of the soul. In making the virtue equivalent to the sciences,

therefore, he is doing away with the irrational part of the soul. Plato, on the other land, did well

in dividing the rational and irrational part of the soul and assigned virtues for each. However, he

intertwined virtue with the treatment of the good, which is not appropriate because the goodness

or truth of things do not possess any characteristic that is in common with virtue.

What Aristotle aims to speak about in this book is the best good, and the best in the sense

that this good is the best for mankind. According to him, goods are of three kinds: first, a good is

honorable when something is good in itself; second, a good is praiseworthy when it arises as a

consequence of an action; and third, potencies are those goods which a good man can use well

and a bad man can use in an ill-manner. A potency can take in the form of an position of power,

wealth, strength, and beauty among others. Aristotle states that forture causes the presence of

potencies. For example, a male model who regularly does fashion shows to raise funds for

children with disabilities set his eyes on another woman despite being in a loving relationship.

Being reminded of this, he consciously chose to look away. This man possesses the potency of

beauty, of which he uses for the good, which can indicate that he is a good man. Setting his eyes

on another woman, however, shows that to some extent, he is not as honorable as some men

might be. Despite this, he is praiseworthy for consciously choosing to be a good man and

choosing to remain loyal with his current partner despite the temptation that came his way.

Aristotle indicated further that there is another division of goods, which classify them
into choice-worthy goods and goods that are not choice-worthy. This simply means that there are

goods that, regardless of time and place, remain choice-worthy (like justice, states Aristotle), and

there are those that are only good in particular circumstances like wealth, strength and power.

Goods are also classified into ends and non-ends, wherein the ends are better than the non-ends

because it is for the sake of that end in which the others become good. Among ends, there are

also divisionsa complete good and an incomplete good. A complete good is one in which the

presence of it leaves nothing else needed, while an incomplete good is one in which something

may be present but necessitates something else in complement of the good. Aristotle, then,

argues that the best good is the complete goodthat which leaves nothing else needed. A

complete good, as such, is the final end. The final end is also the best end, which pertains to


Happiness consists of doing well and living well. In life, there are useable goods and

goods that you simply have, and Aristotle believes that in order to be happy, one must be

surrounded by goods which are useable, because they are more choice-worthy than simply

having good things that one cannot use, and therefore he or she does not need them. Moreover,

Aristotle maintains that to live well, one needs to live in accordance with the virtues, and to live

in accordance with the virtues is the end of happiness and is considered as the best thing.

Virtue is the habit of the soul, and it can be used and exercised. In lieu of this, the usage

and exercise of virtue leads to the best end, which is happiness. Happiness can only be found in

completeness, which entails three things: first, it is found in a man and not a child, second, a

complete period of time will be as long as man lives, and lastly, one needs to live in accordance

with the virtues. These requirements are what Aristotle recommends in order to achieve the best

and final end, which is happiness. For example, there exists a corrupt businessman with a leading
corporate firm who is at the end of his life. According to Aristotles criteria for happiness, he

only checks two of the three requirementsnamely that he is a man and that he is nearing the

completion of his lifetime. However, he does not live in accordance with the virtues because he

is corrupt. In this sense, man cannot be happy because happiness only thrives and can be found

in completeness.

Finally, Aristotle argues that with the soul having a nutritive part, there is a need for it to

be nourished, because as stated earlier, virtue must be used and exercised. This means that virtue

is an activity. In order for the soul to have impulse, it needs to be nourished because it is only

through this nourishment that activity can take place. Void of any nourishment, and therefore

void of any activity, man is also void of any happiness. For example, a woman wants to live a

happy life, and thus she involves herself in activities that may be physically satisfying, like using

narcotics, getting drunk, and engaging in illicit behaviors. The question here is whether or not

these means would lead her to happiness. The answer is definitely no, using Aristotles

standards. She will not become happy because she chose to indulge in things that is pleasurable

for the body but not for the soul. The soul needs nourishment in order to be virtuous, and it is

only by living in virtue that man becomes happy.