Aristotle's ethical writings are among the world's greatest, but are easily misunderstood by the inexperienced. Professor Urmson, after 50 years of study, provides a clear account of the main doctrines in an easily intelligible way and without dwelling on matters of mainly scholarly interest. Aristotle's concern is to examine the ingredients of the life most worth living. In so doing he analyses the nature of excellence of character, intelligence, pleasure and friendship. The fact that Aristotle's work is untouched by the Judaeo-Christian culture which colours modern thought makes it more interesting, though more liable to misconstruction and thus demanding of the help which this book provides.
'This is an excellent book; the best introduction to Aristotle's Ethics that I know of. It is beautifully written, with very well chosen modern examples illustrating various aspects of Aristotle's thought. Urmson succeeds in what one sees very rarely nowadays in philosophy; to reach the university student or interested layperson who wants an introduction to Aristotelian ethics, to provide food for thought for the Aristotle specialist, and to present material that will challenge the contemporary moral philosopher. This book should not only help us understand Aristotle better, but should also have salutary impact on contemporary systematic moral philosophy.' - Julius Moravcsik, Stanford University
'This book will be an excellent introduction to Aristotle's Ethics. It is written in a clear and lively style. It brings out the main philosophical issues, and discusses them in an interesting and illuminating way. As an introduction to Aristotle's ideas about ethics it could not be bettered.' -- John Ackrill, Brasenose College, Oxford
1. The Ideal Life: a Preliminary Discussion.
2. Excellence of Character.
3. Action and its Motives.
4. Responsibility and Choice.
5. Particular Excellences of Character.
6. The Excellences of Intelligence.
7. Strength and Weakness of Will.
9. Social Relationships.