On the So-Called Common Books of the Eudemian and the Nicomachean Ethics

In: Phronesis
Dorothea Frede Universität Hamburg Von-Melle-Park 6, 20146 Hamburg Germany

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In recent decades the view that the disputed central books of Aristotle’s ethics are an integral part of the Eudemian rather than of the Nicomachean Ethics has gained ground for both historical and systematic reasons. This article contests that view, arguing not only that the Nicomachean Ethics represented Aristotle’s central text throughout antiquity, but that the discussion in the common books of such crucial concepts as justice, practical and theoretical reason, self-control and lack of self-control, are more compatible with the undisputed books of the Nicomachean Ethics than with those of the Eudemian Ethics.

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