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Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy Essay


Aristotle was one of the Greek philosophers who contributed enormously to the field of science, politics, ethics, and philosophy. His most notable works was on laws whereby he noted that laws are trusted in any society, unlike men who can easily be corrupted by the earthly.

The law defines the relationship between the ruled and the ruler, the environment and man, and among the ruled. His works on Nicomachean ethics talks about the relationship of human beings on earth. For instance, he discusses extensively the issues touching on happiness, otherwise referred to as eudemonia, virtue, deliberation, justice, and friendship.

This paper aims at expounding on these issues, as well as giving a practical application of the ideas. Aristotle noted that civil relationships determined the success of any society. In other words, the ways in which people relate in society determine their survival. In the modern society, a debate has always ensured on regarding the best place for an individual to work.

The paper utilizes the ideas of Aristotle to shed light on this topic. The paper goes a notch high to compare the views of Aristotle on civil relationships with the contemporary notions of the best places to work.

Views of Aristotle on Civil Relationships

As earlier noted, Aristotle talked about various ways in which the public could forge a working unity. Once of the ways is through ensuring eudemonia (happiness) in everything an individual does in society. This is not achieved automatically, but instead an individual should follow a certain path. The following quote shows this:

Happiness then is the best, and the nobles and the most pleasant of all goods, nor are these things distinct as said the inscription at Delos (Aristotle 21).

To Aristotle, happiness should be the ultimate goal of every individual in society. In whatever an individual does, happiness should be the ultimate goal. In this regard, happiness is a special gift that has four qualities. One of the qualities of happiness is that it does not have any evil in it. Moreover, happiness is desired for itself meaning that nothing can replace happiness in human life.

Since it is desired for itself, it can only be achieved through doing good things and avoiding evil. This implies that an individual should never come up with a strategy that would affect his or her own happiness. Finally, stability is another quality of happiness implying that it does not change with time and space. An individual should not cease being happy just because he change the residence or because time.

Aristotle went ahead to distinguish various forms of happiness in human life. For him, there were at least four types of happiness in human life, including gratification, which refers to comfort and pleasure, moneymaking happiness, political happiness, philosophical happiness and educational happiness.

In this regard, Aristotle was of the view that each person has his or her own form of happiness. What makes one individual happy might the cause of discomfort to another individual.

Regarding virtue, he talked much about it in reference to what makes man happy in life. Just as happiness, virtues are also ranked. The human virtues are divided into three main parts, the reason being the first virtue. Reason is the part that is expected to govern meaning that it leads an individual in making decisions.

This implies that before an individual makes decisions, some processes are usually followed. The second part of virtues is the appetite or the sentiment part. This is the most judgmental virtue in human beings. The last part of virtue is the unresponsive part, which is compared to plants.

This type of virtue does not add much to the life of an individual since it is utilized in performing the most basic activities such as digestion. He defined virtue as the habits of the soul that enables an individual to make a decision. The following quote helps in understanding this statement better:

..but this definition needs some modification for virtue is not merely a habit of mind concordant with prudence, but rather a habit of mind in conscious accordance with prudence (Aristotle 207)

The virtue determines what is wrong and right in society. However, the virtue should only express the best thing in society and keeps off the occurrence of the negative things. Virtues are not acquired automatically through birth but instead they are acquired through practice and habituation.

In this regard, Aristotle implied that an individual could only be considered virtuous if he or she acts virtuously. This means doing the correct thing at the right time and at the right place. An individual loses virtuous and becomes vicious when he or she allows some things to rule him, such as drugs and greed.

It is noted that virtuous are very difficult to attain because people are fond of doing things that their instincts instruct them to do. People are always willing to do things that make them happy, but their human nature cannot allow them. In this regard, virtuous are acquired through the reinforcement.

This implies that parents and the society in general have a role to play in ensuring that children acquire virtues in life. The philosopher advised that people should learn to act correctly and feel correctly. This means that virtuous have a direct relationship with happiness. However, a skill is differentiated from a virtue because a skill is just a product yet a virtue is the intention of the action.

Another thing that Aristotle talked about in detail is the issue of whether the act is deliberate. Deliberation refers to the intention of the actor in any civil relationship or interaction. In this part, he talked about three types of deliberations, including voluntary, involuntary, and non-voluntary. Many scholars of sociology borrowed his works on deliberation in formulating their ideas.

To him, an action is involuntary in case it is performed under compulsion, which would definitely cause pain to the actor. Such an action includes rape and forcible sex. However, an action is considered voluntary when the actor was in full senses by the time he or she was performing the act.

An individual may perform some actions out of ignorance. Such actions are also considered involuntary because the individual could not know the effects of the act by the time he or she was acting. This means that ignorance is genuine defense in ethics, but it does not apply in the rule of law.

The case is different in case an individual does not go through any form of pain since it would be considered non-voluntary. Under deliberation, the choice is the determining factor, unlike the case virtue, which considers actions.

In Aristotle’s view, justice can mean two things, including lawfulness, which means following the law in strict terms, and doing something fairly meaning that considering the effects of the act on others and oneself. Through the law, an individual could be virtuous because the law removes the beast nature of human beings. He also differentiated virtue from justice because justice is not equivalent to morality.

Justice pertains to the relationships of individuals in society while morality is all about doing something that is approved by the majority. An individual might do something that is approved by the majority yet it is not the legally approved.

However, another person might do something that is morally disapproved yet it is accepted legally. Just as other categories of civil relationships, justice is divide into two major sections, one of them being distributive and the other being rectificatory. As the name suggests, distributive justice deals with the distribution of resources, both capital and social.

In this case, merit is the major unit of measure because an individual receives something based on what he or she posses academically. Rectificatory justice deals with offering solutions to the unjust society. This form of justice is usually invoked to rectify the injustices that an individual could have gone through.

Finally, Aristotle shed some light on the issue related to friendship since it is the most important element of civil relationship. From his previous analysis, it is noted that human beings aim at achieving the high ends meaning that they strive to achieve happiness and end injustices. All these can only be accomplished if people coexist as friends. The following statement explains this in detail:

Moreover, friendship of the good is the only friendship which slander cannot prejudice (Aristotle 271).

Best Places to Work

The great place to work involves an environment that is conducive for each employee, irrespective of gender, skin color, and history. The work place should embrace diversity meaning that people should not be judged based on their history, skin color, origin, race, or physical appearance.

However, they should be evaluated based on their ability, talent, capacity, and results. Such places should embrace equality whereby the ideas and views of each person are incorporated into the policy-making mechanisms. In this regard, the most important aspect is building trust among employees.

The top management should always respect junior officers while junior officers should emulate the behavior of the top management. The junior officers cannot emulate the behavior of senior officers in case there is mistrust. An environment that embraces trust has the chances of excelling because there would be innovation and invention.

Such an environment relies on merit for promotion of staff, designing of policies, and implementing policies. An environment that employees trust each other would probably embrace change since it is only through embracing change that an organization can move forward. For instance, technology has redefined the way organizations do business.

An organization that embraces change is in a position to acquire the market share while the one that is reluctant to embrace change will always be lagging behind in terms of development. Change means women should be allowed to ascend to senior positions of management.

In other words, transformational leadership should be embraced. This kind of leadership values consultation. A transformative leader will always ensure that he or she develops trust with junior members of the organization. This trust will go a long way into giving an organization a competitive edge in the market.

Comparison with the Views of Aristotle

The ideas of Aristotle on civil relationships compares closely with the best practices at the work place. Aristotle was of the view that the idea of meritocracy should always be allowed to flourish in society. This means that the most qualified should be allowed to rule through provision of the best ideas. The best managerial practices in the contemporary world suggest that an individual should be qualified to secure an employment.

In other words, this is considered justice because the best person is expected to secure employment while those that are less qualified would fit in where they qualify. Aristotle opposed the view that democracy is the best form of governance. This is the major difference between his reasoning and that of the best managerial practice in the contemporary world.

Democracy is the worst form of governance because it gives the weak an opportunity to express his or her idea. In the contemporary society, transformational leadership is embraced as the best form of leadership in the world. Transformational leadership gives employees the freedom to be represented in policymaking.

To Aristotle, this is giving the weak in society an opportunity to rule. This is not virtuous, neither is it justice. To him, roles must be assigned based on the qualifications. The following quote proves this:

Thus then it is clear that there are more kinds of justice than one, that there is, in short, a justice particular, distinct from virtue as a whole. It remains to determine its genus and its differentia (Aristotle 88).

Works Cited

Aristotle. Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics. New York: CUP Archive, 1926. Print.

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"Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy." IvyPanda, 12 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/nicomachean-ethics/.

1. IvyPanda. "Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicomachean-ethics/.


IvyPanda. "Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicomachean-ethics/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy." December 12, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nicomachean-ethics/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Concept of Nicomachean Ethics in Philosophy'. 12 December.

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