Page:The ethics of Aristotle.djvu/39
individual living a solitary life, but for his parents also and children and wife, and, in general, friends and countrymen; for man is by nature adapted to a social existence. But of these, of course, some limit must be fixed: for if one extends it to parents and descendants and friends’ friends, there is no end to it. This point, however, must be left for future investigation: for the present we define that to be self-sufficient “which taken alone makes life choice-worthy, and to be in want of nothing;” now of such kind we think Happiness to be: and further, to be most choice-worthy of all things; not being reckoned with any other thing, for if it were so reckoned, it is plain we must then allow it, with the addition of ever so small a good, to be more choice-worthy than it was before: because what is put to it becomes an addition of so much more good, and of goods the greater is ever the more choice-worthy.
So then Happiness is manifestly something final and self-sufficient, being the end of all things which are and may be done.
But, it may be, to call Happiness the Chief Good is a mere truism, and what is wanted is some clearer account of its real nature. Now this object may be easily attained, when we have discovered what is the work of man; for as in the case of flute-player, statuary, or artisan of any kind, or, more generally, all who have any work or course of action, their Chief Good and Excellence is thought to reside in their work, so it would seem to be with man, if there is any work belonging to him.
Are we then to suppose, that while carpenter and cobbler have certain works and courses of action, Man as Man has none, but is left by Nature without a work? or would not one rather hold, that as eye, hand, and foot, and generally each of his members, has manifestly some special work; so too the whole Man, as distinct from all these, has some work of his own?
What then can this be? not mere life, because that plainly
- P. 11, l. 11. i.e. without the capability of addition.
- P. 11, l. 14. And then Happiness would at once be shown not to be the Chief Good. It is a contradiction in terms to speak of adding to the Chief Good. See Book X. chap. ii. δῆλον ὡς οὐδ’ἄλλο οὐδὲν τάγαθὸν ἂν εἴη ὃ μετά τινος τῶν καθ’ αὑτὸ ἀγαθῶν αἱρετώτερον γίνεται.