Complete Life in the Eudemian Ethics

Abstract

In the Eudemian Ethics II 1, 1219a34–b8, Aristotle defines happiness as ‘the activity of a complete life in accordance with complete virtue’. Most scholars interpret a complete life as a whole lifetime, which means that happiness involves virtuous activity over an entire life. This article argues against this common reading by using Aristotle’s notion of ‘activity’ (energeia) as a touchstone. It argues that happiness, according to the Eudemian Ethics, must be a complete activity that reaches its end at any and every moment. The upshot of this reading is that life reaches completeness within a lifetime and that death cannot be the requirement for making life complete.

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2022-03-17

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Hilde Vinje
University of Agder

References found in this work

Aristotle: Eudemian Ethics.Brad Inwood & Raphael Woolf (eds.) - 2012 - Cambridge University Press.
Permanent Happiness: Aristotle and Solon.Terence H. Irwin - 1985 - Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 3:89-124.
Natural Goods in the Eudemian Ethics.Giulia Bonasio - 2021 - Ancient Philosophy 41 (1):123-142.

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