COMMENTARY ON ARISTOTLE’S NICOMACHEAN ETHICS: BOOK I, 10
(For the nature of the sections see the “General Introduction”, here.)
Abbreviations: Ar. = Aristotle, AQ= Aquinas, NE = Nicomachean Ethics, EE= Eudemian Ethics
“Should one, then, not deem happy any human being for so long as he is alive; but must one look instead, as Solon has it, to his end? But if it indeed it is necessary to posit such a thesis, then is in fact a person happy when he is dead? Or is this, at least, altogether strange, specially for us who say that happiness is a certain activity? But if we do not say that the dead person is happy —and this is not what Solon means either —- but say rather than someone might safely deem a human being blessed only once he is already removed from bad things and misfortunes, this too admits of some dispute. For it is held that both something bad and something good can befall the dead person, if in fact they can befall the living person who does not perceive it —-for example, honors and dishonors, and the faring well or the misfortunes of his offspring and descendants generally.
But these things too are perplexing; for someone who has lived blessedly until old age and come to this end accordingly, it is possible that many reversals may occur involving his descendants just as some of these descendants may be good and attain the life that accords with their merit, but others the contrary. Yet it is clear that it is possible for these descendants to be of varying degrees of remove from their ancestors. Indeed, it would be strange if even the dead person should share in the reversals and become now happy, now wretched again. But it would be strange too if nothing of the affairs of the descendants should reach the ancestors, not even for a certain time.
But one must return to the perplexity previously mentioned, for perhaps what is now being sought might also be contemplated on the basis of it. If indeed one does have to see a person´s end and at that time deem each person blessed, not as being blessed [now] but as having been such previously —how is this not strange if, when he is happy, what belongs to him will not be truly attributed to him? [This strange consequence] arises on account of our wish not to call the living happy, given the reversals that may happen, and of our supposition that happiness is something lasting and by no means easily subject to reversals, while fortunes often revolve for the same people. For it is clear that if we should follow someone’s fortunes, we will often say that the same person is happy and then again wretched, declaring that the happy person is a sort of chameleon and on unsound footing.
Or is it not at all correct to follow someone’s fortunes? For it is not in these that doing well or badly consists. Rather, human life requires these fortunes in addition, just as we said; yet it is these activities in accord with virtue that have authoritative control over happiness, and the contrary activities on the contrary.
The perplexity just now raised also bears witness to the argument, since in none of the human works is anything so secure as what pertains to the activities that accord with virtue. For such activities seem to be more lasting than even the sciences; and the most honored of them seem to be more lasting, because those who are blessed live out their lives engaged, to the greatest degree and most continuously, in these activities. This seems to be the cause of our not forgetting such activities. Indeed, what is being sought will be available to the happy person, and he will be such throughout life. For he will always, or most of all act on and contemplate what accords with virtue, and he —- and least he who is truly good and “four-square, without blame” — he will bear fortunes altogether nobly and suitably in every way.
Now, many things occur by chance, and they differ in how great or small they are. The small instances of good fortune, and similarly of its opposite, clearly do not tip the balance of one´s life, whereas the great and numerous ones that occur will, make life more blessed (since these naturally help adorn life, and dealing with them is noble and serious). But those fortunes that turn out in the contrary way restrict and even ruin one´s blessedness, for they both inflict pain and impede many activities. Nevertheless, even in the midst of these, nobility shines through, whenever someone bears up calmly under many misfortunes, not because of any insensitivity to pain but because he is well-born and great souled.
And if the activities have authoritative control over life, just as we said, then no one who is blessed would become wretched, since he will never do things that are hateful and base. For we suppose that someone who is truly good and sensible bears up under all fortunes in a becoming way and always does what is noblest given the circumstances, just as a good general makes use, with the greatest military skill, of the army he has and a shoemaker makes the most beautiful shoe out of leather given him. It holds in same manner with all the other experts as well. And if this is so, then the happy person would never become wretched —nor indeed would he be blessed, it is true, if he encounters the fortunes of Priam. He would not be unstable and subject to reversals either, for he will not be easily moved from happiness, and then not by any random misfortunes but only great and numerous ones. And as a result of such things he would not become happy again in a short time; but, if in fact he does, he will do so in the completion of some lengthy time during which he comes to attain great and noble things.
What, then, prevents one from calling happy someone who is active in accord with complete virtue and who is adequately equipped with external goods, not for any chance time but in a complete life? Or must one posit in addition that he will both live in this way and meet his end accordingly —- since the future is in immanifest to us, and we posit happiness, wholly and in every way, as an end and as complete? And if this is so, we will say that those among the living who have and will have available to them the things stated are blessed —-but blessed human beings.
Let what pertains to these things too be defined up to this point.”
(NE, 1100a10-1101a22; Aristotle´s Nicomachean Ethics, Bartlett, Robert, and Collins, Susan; University of Chicago, Chicago, 2011)
I. PRIVATE PUZZLES
1) What are we to make of this striking subsection? What is its argumentative “spirit”? Isn’t it in its ENTIRETY extremely odd and perplexing? For instance, isn’t it surprising to find Ar. begin AND end a subsection by asking so many questions himself? Is he pushing us in this direction, after having set the “rules of the game” by means of his three crucial previous digressions? Could he be starting to TEACH us to puzzle? For isn’t a QUESTION, rather more active than a STATEMENT? And isn’t Aristotelian happiness a kind of ACTIVITY? Doesn’t a QUESTION allow us the freedom to, in the end, think for ourselves? In similar fashion, didn’t Socrates question so that he did NOT have to write? Isn’t the QUESTION, the foundation of classical philosophical dialectics (and thus conceived in a crucially different sense than that found in the ontological structure of Heidegger’s Dasein and its capacity to question; Introduction to Being and Time)? But WHAT are we puzzling about here that makes this subsection so STRANGE? Isn’t it about the most difficult of topics, namely our temporal finitude and ultimate DEATH? Indeed, how CAN we be happy as humans if we are mortal and MUST die? In this respect, won’t this subsection turn out to be KEY for Aristotelians intent on challenging the APOLITICAL Heideggerian conception of finitude? And in this regard, why are we here SO concerned with the temporality (QUANTITY) of our lives (somehow reaching old age unscathed), rather than with the QUALITY of our lives? For, isn’t the WHOLE ethical point “HOW we live our lives”, rather then “HOW LONG we live our lives”? And, don’t TYRANTS live really really long (see below)? Is this part of the troubling political fact surrounding the question of temporality and finitude (pace Heidegger´s own dramatically apolitical notion of time in Being and Time)? Just recently, didn’t Mubarak outlast many? And, ethically speaking, surely HITLER outlived many much more righteous men, didn’t he? So, under this perplexing view, are we to count a life as worthwhile ONLY until we reach 40 or 50 or 60 or 90 (like Abraham who only until THAT advanced age was given forth his promise)? Or put yet another way, were previous cultures less happy because their average life expectancy was much less then ours? Are WE moderns happier because “we” —–well, really only those in developed countries—- DO in fact last much longer (even if connected to all sorts of medical machines)? Haven’t we, ironically, simply given greater chance to chance to act upon us as Ar. had pointed out in our previous commentary?
But returning to the tone/spirit of the subsection, isn’t it ALL kind of spooky? I mean, aren’t we sort of dealing with communications with, or at the very least, referring to the dead (albeit, close kin in particular) and similar issues? And that it IS so, is shown in the even STRANGER subsection XI (“Do the fortunes of the living affect the dead”) which follows immediately? Doesn’t Ostwald allow us to see how far he misses precisely the tone of the whole passage in his footnote 44 and his reference to Burnet´s interpretation of Aristotle? But, how are WE, specially we moderns born out of the secular transfiguration, to take this in (see quote Professor Taylor below)? For surely there seems to be not a single expression of irony or laughter in Ar.’s presentation, is there? Could we not say, that indeed it is HERE, more than anywhere else in the NE, that we actually find one of the most valuable and explicit examples of Ar.’s philosophical generosity towards the life of the noblest of citizens (as is clear by the example given here of Solon)? For isn’t Ar. truly going out of his way in his attentive respect for the beliefs held by traditional leading citizens and THEIR concerns about temporality and happiness? How so? Because isn’t the concern for temporality of great IMPORT to the serious citizens of a political community? Isn’t it the case that for THEM the family, specially, is the locus of an endurance and immortality beyond the ephemeral appearance of any of its individual members (contrast, Diotima´s “The Ladder of Love” speech in Plato’s Symposium)? For wouldn’t a Solon ask: what of a long life WITHOUT a family? What could that be FOR? Mustn’t the individual see beyond him/herself in order to truly achieve happiness? And moreover, aren’t great leaders, the greatest of leaders, truly thus remembered by all for the SACRIFICES they make in dedicating themselves whole-heartedly to the PUBLIC good? Isn’t this PRECISELY why Solon, the lawgiver, is remembered till this day even beyond the boundaries of his native Athens? And aren’t those who give up their lives for US in battle, in the crucial defense of our divergent REGIMES, thus remembered as well for exemplifying the virtue of courage by giving themselves for a greater cause than mere life? Isn’t this, in part, why Ar., as we shall see, also refers to Simonides the poet in this very subsection by referencing his appearance in Plato´s dialogue Protagoras (which deals precisely with the question of courage and sophistry; 339b)? For isn’t Simonides famous for his elegies to the fallen dead in the greatest of Greek battles, the most famous being that written as remembrance of the Battle at Thermopylae, and which reads:
Ὦ ξεῖν’, ἀγγέλλειν Λακεδαιμονίοις ὅτι τῇδε
κείμεθα, τοῖς κείνων ῥήμασι πειθόμενοι.
“Stranger, announce to the Spartans that here
We lie, having fulfilled their orders.”
(see below)? And we know quite well that elegies and eulogies are far from being the same, don’t we? Actually, in terms of eudaimonia, don’t they stand at extremes?
And so that we may be believed, isn’t the example of Solon here central in THIS regard? Don’t we find precisely THIS concern in Herodotus´s account of Solon —made reference to by Ar. himself? Doesn’t Herodotus allow us to share in the context of Solon’s words? For, we come to know how Solon, in one of his “voyages” outside Athens, came to be questioned/confronted by a tyrant named Croesus? And, doesn’t Croesus indeed know that Solon´s international fame was such as to be considered one of the Seven Sages of Antiquity? But, what does the Tyrant ask in relation to the topic of the NE? Isn’t the question precisely that of the NE as a whole? Doesn’t the TYRANT ask WHO is the happiest human known to be so by Solon himself? And, before dwelling more intimately in the dialogue that ensues between law-giver and TYRANT, mustn’t we mention also that we see in Plutarch’s “Life of Solon” the radically opposite un-Aristotelian tone and sense of fundamental respect by a philosopher towards traditional concerns and beliefs? Don’t we have to contrast here Ar.´s way of proceeding prudently, with Thales outright (effective, yes), but shocking (mocking?) “unveiling” of Solon’s beliefs as regards the possibility of a serious interconnection between one´s having a family and reaching the highest human happiness available to us? Isn’t Thales’s’ trick truly outrageous from a much more moderate Aristotelian perspective, namely telling Solon that one of his children has DIED, when in fact it is simply a TEST:
“Thus every answer heightened Solon’s fears, and at last, in great distress of soul, he told his name to the stranger and asked him if it was Solon’s son that was dead. The man said it was; whereupon Solon began to beat his head and to do and say everything else that betokens a transport of grief. But Thales took him by the hand and said, with a smile, “This it is, O Solon, which keeps me from marriage and the getting of children; it overwhelms even thee, who art the most stout-hearted of men. But be not dismayed at this story, for it is not true.”
(my emphasis; p. 419; http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Solon*.html; not to mention Thales’s own inconsistencies on the topic.)
Isn’t this example, in part, what makes us clear as to why Thales is considered a Pre-Socratic? For didn’t’ the Socratic revolution, as told to us by Cicero, BRING philosophy back to “earth” via its political concerns? And in parallel fashion, don’t we see Ar. living up to the presuppositions of the founder of Political Philosophy, Socrates, who already knew of his Second Voyage as the KEY to a certain departure from philosophers such as Thales and Anaxagoras? Moreover, leaving aside the fact that a similar “outrageous” test appears as well in the Bible (young Isaacs divinely commanded sacrifice by Abraham at the age of 90+!), don’t we sense as we read this subsection that is it specially the spoudaios who would find Thales’s un-Aristotelian attitude quite “distasteful”, to put it mildly? Or put yet another way, in striking relation to the beginning of Plato’s Republic, don’t we find here Ar.’s bowing to elder citizens such as Cephalus —whose name actually means “head”, as in the expression, “head of the family”—– rather than seeking their direct questioning? And in this regard, don’t we need also recall that THIS more prudential tone is precisely the tone set by the elder Plato in his much more mature, and politically realistic, dialogue, The Laws? For isn’t THAT political dialogue undertaken by a stranger (obviously Socrates, though it is striking that Plato feels the need to cover up such obviousness), and two elder citizens who are quite advanced in their lives and thus closer to death? And isn’t this TONE, that which characterizes the forgotten yet masterful work of Xenophon? Are we surprised then NOT to find Xenophon being read in current Academia?
Put another way, aren’t WE western moderns, and specially given the PROGRESSIVE dissolution of the reverence for the past and tradition begun and increased progressively by the Early Enlightenment (Locke´s critique of Filmer and the lowering of the virtues, Kant´s reformulation of classical reason and his dogmatic formalism, Nietzsche’s embrace of the Will to Power and aesthetic perspectives), unable to actually see the importance of the Aristotelian bow present in this “less important” subsection? For doesn’t the Enlightenment, and even the Post-enlightenment (Rorty, Foucault, Derrida), see behind a subsection such as this, simply a kind of naïve darkness that must be either illuminated or silenced? In Tocquevellian terms —a recoverer of this Aristotelian stance—- doesn´t the modern trend to an ever more consolidated materialistic democratism seek to do away with all its PREVIOUS historical origins, particularly, those of an Aristocratic and Spiritual nature? Doesn’t our materialism lead us inevitably to SKIP this subsection as “interesting” yet irrelevant, philosophically speaking? Isn’t this part of why we sense that Broadie and Rowe´s interpretation lacks the unique strangeness and power of the original? Put contrastively, if we look outside ourselves, for instance at a parallel sage such as Confucius in the East, don’t we actually come to be surprised to FIND in his “philosophical” tenets, similar appeals to those of Ar.? Isn’t this in great part why the rebirth of Confucius in China has come about among educational elites? In this regard, when Confucius was asked why he didn’t participate in politics, didn’t he answer “”All that is required is to have a filial attitude (towards one’s parents) and to be friendly towards one’s elders and younger brothers, and apply that mindset to regulating society?” (02.21) Or, for those who have only lived in developed countries all their lives, and know of no other reality except that quite misleading one in many respects; don’t WE Colombians actually see the traffic jams created by those Christians wishing to visit their relatives each weekend? Don’t THEY find that ANY answer to the question of human happiness MUST, in some sense, include the connection to the history of those who were and are no longer with us? What are we to do about THEM? Quietly start to close the cemeteries? Moreover, don’t we know of the character of traditional Japanese cemeteries? And closer to us, isn’t the post-confederation debate between Jefferson and Hamilton PRECISELY one that revolves around which section of society ought to play the LEADING role in the conformation of the identity of the newly formed United States of America, namely, the traditional farming community OR the modern commercial/industrial citizenry? Wouldn’t Jeffersonians clearly understand what Ar.`s subsection is ALL about? And, don’t they show it in the polls to the amazement (confused disbelief?) of liberal academics?
2) But, one may be asked, what is the source of these puzzles? Aren’t we simply projecting too many topics into a subsection that, truly, does not allow for any such “philosophical depth”? What is the KEY, then? Isn’t it the very first appearance of Solon in the NE? For isn’t it striking that Solon appears, only to be “forgotten”, for a very LONG time, as the NE proceeds? And, where does he reappear, we may be asked? Only, revealingly, until AFTER the climax of the NE is reached in BOOK X? Doesn’t the reappearance of Solon at the very END of the work we are beginning to understand, come with a clear Aristotelian reference to a certain DECLINE in the final argument? For won’t Ar. say in relation to Solon again, and only after a certain climax is reached: “But the life which accords with virtue is happy in a secondary way ….” (my emphasis; BOOK X, chapter 8). Don’t these words stand in stark CONTRAST to the way Ar. praises repeatedly virtue in THIS subsection? But, let us return to our beginnings: WHO is Solon? Isn’t he, as the legislator of Athens, as the poet of justice, and as one of the Seven Sages, perhaps THE single most important example of the political life as it is ACTUALLY LIVED? Isn’t he like a Lincoln to US citizens, a Bolívar to us Colombians, a Churchill for the British, a Macdonald to us Canadians (Churchill providing perhaps the BEST example as he won the Noble Prize —–not for peace, as is the trend— but for Literature)? Put another way, aren’t we being prepared for the true concerns underlying political life and its longing and intense desire for an immortality that remains publicly acknowledged even when deceased? What does being a poet and being a legislator, and being considered as one of the Seven Wise have to do with death and happiness? But, what is the actual reference of Solon’s words? Don’t we find it in the already mentioned striking story told by Herodotus of Solon’s travels outside Athens after he gave the Athenians some of their best and most memorable laws? So, what indeed occurred AFTER Solon provided such beneficial laws? Did he stick around to enjoy them, live happily under them? Doesn’t Herodotus tell us otherwise:
“He had made laws for the Athenians at their request and then went abroad for ten years. He did have the excuse of wanting t do some sightseeing, but he really did so that he could not be forced to repeal any of the laws he had made.” (my emphasis: The Landmark Herodotus, I,30; Strassler)
Which necessarily leads one to ask: what exactly is the happiness of the law-giver who must exile himself for his laws to actually shape the citizens of his native land? Moreover, won’t Ar. –regardless of his prudence—- have to exile himself as well? And, won’t the NE END by appealing to said law-givers? Furthermore, isn’t the conversation that ensues between Solon and the Tyrant Croesus of GREAT relevance to Ar.’s passage? and don’t we know of Heidegger’s blindness to tyranny? For doesn’t Herodotus reveal THE core question of any human, but primarily of the TYRANT: “so I really can’t resist asking you now whether you have not yet seen anyone who surpasses all others in happiness and prosperity? (I, 30; Herodotus wisely letting us know the REAL motivation underlying the question: “he asked this in hope that he would be declared the happiest and most prosperous.”) Which leads one to ask, what is it about the TYRANT that seeks a certain recognition from the WISE? And won’t the OTHER exemplar of this passage, namely the poet Simonides, engage in such a dialogue with a Tyrant in Xenophon´s crucial, yet unread, Hiero? Don’t we urgently need to take up seriously then Strauss’s recovery of this forgotten dialogue, as well as his exemplary conversation with Kojève as regards the relationship between society and philosophy? (Striking in this regard is Kojève’s letter, which reads more like a telegram (!); dated, Paris, 5.15.58, p. 302; see below Section IV )? For isn’t the whole argument between Strauss and Kojève, precisely about the RELATIONSHIP between philosophy and society and about the consequences of the way one determines this connection? But leaving this issue aside, what is Solon’s response, which of course MUST be considered in the context of a conversation with a TYRANT? Doesn’t he answer by saying that the happiest man, though not really well-known, is Tellus the Athenian? Why is he the happiest? Solon expands: “he saw all his children and grandchildren surviving him”, and died “most nobly on the battlefield” (ibid.)? Don’t we sense then, that in THIS subsection 10 (and subsection 11 even more so) Ar. is addressing the Tellus’s of our lives? Isn’t Tellus an exemplar of the great-souled man (megalopsuchos) to which Ar. will proceed to make reference just a few lines further on: “Nevertheless, even in the midst of these, nobility shines through, whenever someone bears up calmly under many misfortunes, not because of any insensitivity to pain but because he is well-born and great souled.”? Isn’t Ar. preparing thus for the exquisite and dramatic analysis of the peak virtue of magnanimity in BOOK IV where we will be in fact told that characteristic of such a human is that he/she:
“is not one to hazard ruffling dangers and he is not a lover of danger either, since he honors few things. But he will hazard great dangers, and when he does so, he throws away his life, on the ground that living is not at all worthwhile.” (my emphasis; BOOK IV, Chapter 3, 1124b8-10, and fn. 21, p. 78) ?
But we need ask, how exactly is “throwing away one’s life” connected to happiness in the end as affirmed in this subsection? But then, isn’t it truly to end one´s life without seeing tragedy, getting to the end unscathed in one´s soul and in one´s family, THE core foundation for a real affirmation of happiness as perceived by the man of action at its fullest? But even more poignantly, given our reflections on previous commentaries regarding the virtue of courage, what exactly is the happy ending of those who die in battle IF THEY DIE? Won’t part of the answer be that the family/community, in the first instance, will MAKE sure that such virtuous acts, because sacrificial, will remain in our COLLECTIVE memories for ALL times? Isn’t this why Ar. poignantly adds:
“For such (virtuous) activities seem to be more lasting than even the sciences; and the most honored of them seem to be more lasting, because those who are blessed live out their lives engaged, to the greatest degree and most continuously, in these activities. This seems to be the cause of our not forgetting such activities.” (my emphasis)
Virtue more permanent than even the causal laws of nature; are WE moderns even prepared to HEAR/EXEMPLIFY this? Why does Ar. so exaggerate? Is our modern democratic lasting permanence based on these concerns? Or have we learned to forget and thus precipitated a decline?
And, to make the story even more revealing, doesn’t Herodotus recount the very contrasting history of Croesus´s family after his encounter with Solon? For, even with his POWER and PROSPERITY, he cannot protect one his sons (presumably the BEST, for the other has a “natural defect” (recall Richard III); a defect that will have a spooky other-worldly reappearance as the narrative moves along)? And how does the tyrant’s son die? Precisely by the appearance of a fortuitous event, so tragic, so unjust really, that one feels the mastery of Herodotus´s writing skills? Doesn’t Atys, son of Croesus, die at the hands of a FRIEND, a friend who Croesus has saved, but who’s presence determines a course of events that are furthest from ANY “happy ending”, as we say? Doesn’t his son Atys die —– like Priam’s son in our previous subsection—– at the hands of a human who has ALREADY accidentally killed his own brother and thus is truly in need of purification? (I, 35)? And doesn’t Erastus commit suicide moments later in the narrative? (I, 45)
But in addition, doesn’t Croesus ask Solon a SECOND time who is the silver medal winner for the happiest person award? And aren’t we struck by Solon´s response, perhaps even more so than Croesus himself, given the spirit of our previous commentaries and puzzling interconnection mentioned between ethical virtue, self-sacrifice, happiness and the life of the noblest of citizens and their concerns? For isn’t the story of Cleobis and Biton memorable like few? Don’t THEY give their lives, not in battle, not for the community, but for their mother who must arrive promptly to the oracle? And given the lack of beasts, don’t her sons “put themselves on the yoke” (I, 31), carry her mother dutifully, and die because of the overstress of their human bodies? Result? Haven´t they become memorable, more memorable than the sciences themselves? Or as those who have been witnesses argue, these young sons “had proven themselves to be the best of men.”
Now, given the nature of these silent examples to which Ar. alludes, is it any wonder that THERE does exist a perplexity regarding the very connection of virtue to happiness? Isn’t this, in part, why Ar. will end the subsection, not by SOLVING it as AQ. has us believe, but rather by ASKING himself, and US:
“What, then, prevents one from calling happy someone who is active in accord with complete virtue and who is adequately equipped with external goods, not for any chance time but in a complete life? Or must one posit in addition that he will both live in this way and meet his end accordingly —- since the future is in immanifest to us, and we posit happiness, wholly and in every way, as an end and as complete? (my emphasis)
But finally, doesn’t Solon —the wise-lawgiver and poet—- attempt to educate Croesus, not only about virtue, but even more fundamentally, about the intimate connection between the exercise of ethical virtue and the presence of the Gods in our lives? For doesn’t Solon confront the Tyrant by signaling that the Gods are envious of human happiness and will show it only to “destroy them utterly later” (I, 32)? And doesn’t Solon know well of the presence of the Gods and their justice in his poems, particularly in his Prayer to the Muses:
“Shining children of Memory and Olympian Zeus,
Muses of Pieria, listen to my prayer.
Give me prosperity from the gods and from men
let me always have a good reputation.
So I would be sweet to my friends and sour to enemies,
dreadful to them but admirable to the others.
Possessions I long to have; yet to win them unjustly, I’m unwilling.
For Justice comes after, all the same.
Wealth that the gods give comes to a man firm,
and solid from base to crown;
But what men go after, from hubris, does not come in good order:
it follows unwillingly persuaded
By unjust acts. And ruin (atê) quickly is mixed in.
lt grows like a fire from small beginnings,
Slight at the start and painful at the end.
The works of hubris do not last for mortals,
For Zeus sees the end (telos) of everything–suddenly,
just as a wind scatters the clouds
In spring. It stirs the base of the billowing, unplowed sea,
and ravages works on the grain-bearing land;
And so it comes to the gods’ lofty seat,
the heavens–and then it shows clear sky again.
The power of the sun casts light on the rich earth in beauty;
but the clouds are nowhere to be seen.
Such is the vengeance of Zeus, who, unlike mortals,
is not quick-angered at each little thing.
Yet nothing utterly escapes him ever, when someone has an evil heart–
and in the end (telos), it shows up all the same.”(my emphasis)
Consequently, aren’t we startled to find the different possibilities lying behind what we may consider an END (telos) to be depending on WHICH art/science/activity one deems the most authoritative? For if death is the END, then truly doesn’t it make all the difference WHICH END is precisely the one that guides us through out the passing moments of our existence? And, as Ar. has been slowly asking, what if it turned out NOT to be one guided by the political art and its deep interconnection to the exercise of the moral virtues and the presence of divinity? What then? Or put in Aristotelian fashion, WHAT is the definitive, most complete and most self-sufficient END of our lives beyond the mere addition of years and the mere desire for a fame that may, in the end, truly not be everlasting (how many non-US citizens were consciously aware of 9/11 this year?)? Will the safety of reaching the END necessarily be guaranteed by the Muses and our prayers to them? But then WHY would justice need such massive backing IF being just is good-in-itself and sought for its-own-sake? Isn’t this, THE perplexity to be confronted throughout the NE, slowly being revealed here primarily for the attentive reader/listener, and done with the usual exquisite prudence of Aristotle´s concerns and candor?
Finally, isn’t the story of Croesus striking precisely in this respect as well? For doesn’t he mock the Gods by USING them for his own imperial concerns? Doesn’t he test the Oracles (I, 50), in order to see whether he will capture the Persians under Cyrus? And isn’t it the more ironic because it is by mentioning thrice Solon’s name that he is in fact saved from death at the pyre once captured by Great Cyrus himself? Finally, aren’t we appalled, like Herodotus himself, to know where exactly Croesus’s donations to the Gods came from (I, 92)?
But to our astonishment, don’t we know too that not only does Croesus the Tyrant test the veracity of the Oracles, so that he can ensure his own political aggrandizement, but also Socrates who confronts the words of the Oracle which say that he alone —and not Solon— is the wisest of humans alive? And don’t we find a similar test in Xenophon’s story about how he came to travel —as Solon once did—- beyond the borders of the safety of his Athens in search of adventure and political recognition (The Anabasis of Cyrus III, 1, 4; Ambler translation)? So, won’t the appropriate relation to the Oracles remain in the back of our minds as listeners as we continue the journey which the NE opens in BOOK I? And that the question sought deals fundamentally with the character of divinity, and its relation to the philosophical life, is ALSO made clear by Ar.’s own concluding and memorable words for this subsection:
“And if this is so, we will say that those among the living who have and will have available to them the things stated are blessed —-but blessed human beings.”
III. PUZZLES REGARDING COMMENTARY BY AQUINAS
1) Without a doubt these sections are the ones that will create a greater tension as regards AQ.’s interpretation of the Aristotelian text. The fundamental question guiding a critique of AQ. lies in whether given that it does seem that the virtuous life calls out dramatically for some kind of divine defense and protection, whether Ar, HIMSELF, is presenting HIS own point of view simply, or rather making us puzzle as to not only the nature of the virtuous life, but equally importantly as to the connection of this virtuous life of self-sacrifice and the condition of or its defense as a self-sufficient and complete activity on it s own. But if indeed the moral life does not in fact subsist on its ¡own then one need ask, is the virtuous life all that good for the one living it? IN contrast AQ. tells us that Ar has solved the problem: “After explaining his problem, the Philosopher here solves it” (187)
2) For the strangeness of the subsection see 184:
“It is inappropriate that a dead man…”
3) For AQ.’s interpretation of Ar. puzzles regarding virtue see 200, 201, and 202. It is striking to read:
“Since a natural desire is not in vain, we can correctly judge that perfect beatitude is reserved for man after this life”
4) For Abraham’s perseverance see:
“Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him” (Genesis, 21: 5)
5) for the fact that Moses is no Solon, but rather the receptor of Gods divine justice see:
“And the Lord said to Moses: “Behold, I shall come to you in a thick cloud, in order that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe in you forever.” (my emphasis: Genesis, 19: 9)
Thus AQ.’s complex sections on the debate between natural, divine and human justice in his Summa Theologica, which contrast to Ar.’s own cryptic remarks on natural justice in BOOK V.
IV. FLEXIBLE SECTION
1) i) Herodotus’s section on Solon can be found in The Histories:
“When all these had been subjugated and Croesus was adding them to his Lydian empire, there arrived at Sardis, now at the very height of wealth, all the wise men of Hellas who were alive at the time, each coming with his own motives. Of particular not was Solon the Athenian. …” (I, 29)
ii) On Croesus´s donations to the Gods we read:
“When Croesus took control of the empire given to him by his father, he killed the man who had opposed him, by dragging him over a carding comb. He had earlier vowed to donate the man´s property to the gods, and now he dedicated it as described here to the sanctuaries I have mentioned above, and that is all I will say on the subject of Croesus’ offerings” (my emphasis; I, 92.; p. 53 Strassler)
2) It is striking that in contrast to the NE, the EE explicitly agrees with Solon’s words:
“And so Solon’s idea was right when he said that one should not felicitate a man on being happy when he is alive, only when his life attains completion; for nothing incomplete is happy, as it does not form a whole.” (EE, BOOK II, Chapter 1, 1219b, 6-9)
Could this tell us that the EE is both I) more pessimistic as to the possibilities of human beings and thus ii) more in need of the appearance of deities as THE solution to the theological-political problem as Spinoza calls it?
3) The most important appearance of Simonides in Greek texts is: a) in Xenophon’s Hiero, and b) Plato’s Protagoras. The letter mentioned above from Kojève, reads:
“This “Academy” ought to be a “monastery”, that is to say, “separated” (chorismo) from the world. The “Lawgiver” is the Kepahlos, the Head of the Academy; he ought to be the “sole ruler” and not bound by any “laws” (=prejudices). Etc, However: the “common” reader knows nothing of the Academy and thinks exclusively of the polis. Read that way, the Republic and the Statesman are deliberately absurd …. This genuinely platonic conception was tried (“monks”) for a thousand years (by both Christians and Muslims), and degenerated into Bayle’s Republic of Letters which remains “alive” to this day. Betrayal of the intellectuals:” (Strauss, On Tyranny, dated Paris 5.15.58, p. 302)
4) Professor Taylor’s notion of Secularity can be found in A Secular Age.
5) Plutarch’s reference to Solon in The Parallel lives:
“On his visit to Thales at Miletus, Solon is said to have expressed astonishment that his host was wholly indifferent to marriage and the getting of children. At the time Thales made no answer, but a few days afterwards he contrived to have a stranger say that he was just arrived after a ten days’ journey from Athens. When Solon asked what news there was at Athens, the man, who was under instructions what to say, answered: “None other than the funeral of a young man, who was followed to the grave by the whole city. 2 For he was the son, as I was told, of an honoured citizen who excelled all others in virtue; he was not at the funeral of his son; they told me that he had been travelling abroad for a long time.” “O the miserable man!” said Solon; “pray, what was his name?” “I heard the name,” the man said, “but I cannot recall it; only there was great talk of his wisdom and justice.” Thus every answer heightened Solon’s fears, and at last, in great distress of soul, he told his name to the stranger and asked him if it was Solon’s son that was dead. 3 The man said it was; whereupon Solon began to beat his head and to do and say everything else that betokens a transport of grief. But Thales took him by the hand and said, with a smile, “This it is, O Solon, which keeps me from marriage and the getting of children; it overwhelms even thee, who art the most stout-hearted of men. But be not dismayed at this story, for it is not true.” Such, at any rate, according to Hermippus, is the story of Pataecus, who used to boast that he had Aesop’s soul.” (my emphasis: 6; http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Lives/Solon*.html)
6) For Xenophon´s questioning of the Oracle:
“In the army there was a certain Xenophon, an Athenian, who followed along even though he was neither a general nor a captain nor a soldier; but Pyroxenes, a guest-friend of his from long ago, had sent for him to come home. He promised that if he came, he would make him a friend of Cyrus, whom Proxenus himself had said he believed to be the better for himself than his fatherland was. So Xenophon, on reading his letter, took common counsel with Socrates the Athenian about the journey. And Socrates, suspecting that becoming a friend of Cyrus might bring an accusation from the city, because Cyrus had seemed eager in joining the Lacedaemonians in making war against the Athenians, advised Xenophon to go to Delphi and take common counsel with the god about the journey. Xenophon went and asked Apollo to which one of the gods he should sacrifice and pray in order to make the journey he had in mind in the noblest and best way and, after faring well, to return safely. And Apollo indicated to him the gods to whom he needed to sacrifice.
When he came back again, he told the oracular response to Socrates. On hearing it, Socrates blamed him because he did not first ask whether it was more advisable for him to make the journey or to remain, but he himself had judged that he was to go and then inquired how he might go in the noblest way. “However, since you did ask it in this way,” he said, “you must do all that the god bade.”
So after sacrificing to the ones the god had indicated, Xenophon sailed off.” (The Anabasis of Cyrus III, 1, 4; Ambler translation )
7) Ar.’s general appraisal of Solon is extremely positive in his other works;
i) Values as middling element: a) Athenian Constitution V ff. “both sides…”, b) Politics Book IV, Chapter 11, 1296 a 18 and c) Politics Book II, Chapter 12, 1274a15
ii) Value as counterbalance to the desires of the rich for ever greater wealth: a) Politics BOOK I, Chapter 8, 1256b 32), b) Politics Book 2 Chapter 7 1266b 18)
iii) Value as legislator: a) EE, BOOK II, Chapter 1, 1219b, 6-9, and b) the whole of Athenian Constitution.
So that we need seriously ask whether Ar. constant appeals to the mediating character of Solon’s position can be remarked of Aristotle himself as regards the constant appeals for a better understanding of the independence and mutual respect owed between political leaders and the philosophically inclined Isn’t this why Ar. argues that the NE is a “kind of” political inquiry?
8) Two striking examples of the dilemmas inherent in this virtuous life, but from a radically un-Aristotelian perspective are the works by Gabriel Garcia Marques, i) El coronel no tiene quién le escriba, and ii) El general en su laberinto. Of interest to Aristotelian is mounting a defense against these poetic explorations of political life and absurdly tragic and thus not, in the end, worthy of dignity, emulation and corresponding defense. Plato’s conflict between the poets and the philosophers is nowhere more alive than in this respect; on the value of the political for our lives.
9) For another perspective on the end of life see Swift´s Gulliver´s travels where we are told about the manner of reaching the END that characterizes the Houyhnhnms. Of their manner of dying we are told:
“if they can avoid casualties, they die only of old age, and are buried in the obscurest places that can be found, their friends and relations expressing neither joy nor grief at their departure; nor does the dying deliver the least regret that he is leaving the world, any more than if he were returning home from a visit to one of his neighbors ……. they live general to seventy or seventy-fine, very seldom to fourscore. some weeks before their death they feel a gradual decay, but without pain…. and therefore when the dying Houyhnhnms return those visits, they take a solemn leave of their friends as if they were going to some remote part of the country, where they designed to spend the rest of their lives.” (GT, IV, *9, pp. 239-240)
See parallel in More´s Utopia BOOK II “Religions of the Utopians”
“They think that the souls of beasts are immortal, though far inferior to the dignity of the human soul, and not capable of so great a happiness. They are almost all of them very firmly persuaded that good men will be infinitely happy in another state: so that though they are compassionate to all that are sick, yet they lament no man’s death, except they see him loath to part with life; for they look on this as a very ill presage, as if the soul, conscious to itself of guilt, and quite hopeless, was afraid to leave the body, from some secret hints of approaching misery. They think that such a man’s appearance before God cannot be acceptable to Him, who being called on, does not go out cheerfully, but is backward and unwilling, and is as it were dragged to it. They are struck with horror when they see any die in this manner, and carry them out in silence and with sorrow, and praying God that He would be merciful to the errors of the departed soul, they lay the body in the ground: but when any die cheerfully, and full of hope, they do not mourn for them, but sing hymns when they carry out their bodies, and commending their souls very earnestly to God: their whole behaviour is then rather grave than sad, they burn the body, and set up a pillar where the pile was made, with an inscription to the honour of the deceased. When they come from the funeral, they discourse of his good life, and worthy actions, but speak of nothing oftener and with more pleasure than of his serenity at the hour of death. They think such respect paid to the memory of good men is both the greatest incitement to engage others to follow their example, and the most acceptable worship that can be offered them; for they believe that though by the imperfection of human sight they are invisible to us, yet they are present among us, and hear those discourses that pass concerning themselves. They believe it inconsistent with the happiness of departed souls not to be at liberty to be where they will: and do not imagine them capable of the ingratitude of not desiring to see those friends with whom they lived on earth in the strictest bonds of love and kindness: besides, they are persuaded that good men, after death, have these affections; and all other good dispositions increased rather than diminished, and therefore conclude that they are still among the living, and observe all they say or do. From hence they engage in all their affairs with the greater confidence of success, as trusting to their protection; while this opinion of the presence of their ancestors is a restraint that prevents their engaging in ill designs.” (my emphasis on the striking Aristotelian parallel: Gutenberg, see other translation Utopia, Cambridge Texts, p. 99)
10) Machiavelli’s personal concern on death can be found in his very important letter to Francesco Vettori. It reads:
“When evening comes, I return home and enter my study; on the threshold I take off my workday clothes, covered with mud and dirt, and put on the garments of court and palace. Fitted out appropriately, I step inside the venerable courts of the ancients, where, solicitously received by them, I nourish myself on that food that alone is mine and for which I was born; where I am unashamed to converse with them and to question them about the motives for their actions, and they, out of their human kindness, answer me. And for four hours at a time I feel no boredom, I forget all my troubles, I do not dread poverty, and I am not terrified by death. I absorb myself into them completely. And because Dante says that no one understands anything unless he retains what he has understood, I have jotted down what I have profited from in their conversation and composed a short study, De principatibus” (see other translation The Prince, Cambridge texts p. 93; also realistic and poignant remark on modern mores in Chapter IX, p. 37: “everyone wants to die for him, because to prospect of death is far off.”)
V. IMPORTANT GREEK TERMS IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
τιμαὶ καὶ ἀτιμίαι
honor and dishonor
born, sprung from
out of place
κύριαι τῆς ζωῆς
authoritative control over life
μακαρίους δ᾽ ἀνθρώπους
but blessed human beings
VI. NICOMACHEAN ETHICS, GREEK, BOOK I, 10; text at Perseus (based on Bowater)
πότερον οὖν οὐδ᾽ ἄλλον οὐδένα ἀνθρώπων εὐδαιμονιστέον ἕως ἂν ζῇ, κατὰ Σόλωνα δὲ χρεὼν τέλος ὁρᾶν; εἰ δὲ δὴ καὶ θετέον οὕτως, ἆρά γε καὶ ἔστιν εὐδαίμων τότε ἐπειδὰν ἀποθάνῃ; ἢ τοῦτό γε παντελῶς ἄτοπον, ἄλλως τε καὶ τοῖς λέγουσιν ἡμῖν ἐνέργειάν τινα τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν; εἰ δὲ μὴ λέγομεν τὸν τεθνεῶτα εὐδαίμονα, μηδὲ Σόλων τοῦτο βούλεται, ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι τηνικαῦτα ἄν τις ἀσφαλῶς μακαρίσειεν ἄνθρωπον ὡς ἐκτὸς ἤδη τῶν κακῶν ὄντα καὶ τῶν δυστυχημάτων, ἔχει μὲν καὶ τοῦτ᾽ ἀμφισβήτησίν τινα: δοκεῖ γὰρ εἶναί τι τῷ τεθνεῶτι καὶ κακὸν καὶ ἀγαθόν, εἴπερ καὶ τῷ ζῶντι μὴ αἰσθανομένῳ δέ, οἷον τιμαὶ καὶ ἀτιμίαι καὶ τέκνων καὶ ὅλως ἀπογόνων εὐπραξίαι τε καὶ δυστυχίαι. ἀπορίαν δὲ καὶ ταῦτα παρέχει: τῷ γὰρ μακαρίως βεβιωκότι μέχρι γήρως καὶ τελευτήσαντι κατὰ λόγον ἐνδέχεται πολλὰς μεταβολὰς συμβαίνειν περὶ τοὺς ἐκγόνους, καὶ τοὺς μὲν αὐτῶν ἀγαθοὺς εἶναι καὶ τυχεῖν βίου τοῦ κατ᾽ ἀξίαν, τοὺς δ᾽ ἐξ ἐναντίας: δῆλον δ᾽ ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀποστήμασι πρὸς τοὺς γονεῖς παντοδαπῶς ἔχειν αὐτοὺς ἐνδέχεται. ἄτοπον δὴ γίνοιτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ συμμεταβάλλοι καὶ ὁ τεθνεὼς καὶ γίνοιτο ὁτὲ μὲν εὐδαίμων πάλιν δ᾽ ἄθλιος: ἄτοπον δὲ καὶ τὸ μηδὲν μηδ᾽ ἐπί τινα χρόνον συνικνεῖσθαι τὰ τῶν ἐκγόνων τοῖς γονεῦσιν. ἀλλ᾽ ἐπανιτέον ἐπὶ τὸ πρότερον ἀπορηθέν: τάχα γὰρ ἂν θεωρηθείη καὶ τὸ νῦν ἐπιζητούμενον ἐξ ἐκείνου. εἰ δὴ τὸ τέλος ὁρᾶν δεῖ καὶ τότε μακαρίζειν ἕκαστον οὐχ ὡς ὄντα μακάριον ἀλλ᾽ ὅτι πρότερον ἦν, πῶς οὐκ ἄτοπον, εἰ ὅτ᾽ ἔστιν εὐδαίμων, μὴ ἀληθεύσεται κατ᾽ αὐτοῦ τὸ ὑπάρχον διὰ τὸ μὴ βούλεσθαι τοὺς ζῶντας εὐδαιμονίζειν διὰ τὰς μεταβολάς, καὶ διὰ τὸ μόνιμόν τι τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν ὑπειληφέναι καὶ μηδαμῶς εὐμετάβολον, τὰς δὲ τύχας πολλάκις ἀνακυκλεῖσθαι περὶ τοὺς αὐτούς; δῆλον γὰρ ὡς εἰ συνακολουθοίημεν ταῖς τύχαις, τὸν αὐτὸν εὐδαίμονα καὶ πάλιν ἄθλιον ἐροῦμεν πολλάκις, χαμαιλέοντά τινα τὸν εὐδαίμονα ἀποφαίνοντες καὶ σαθρῶς ἱδρυμένον. ἢ τὸ μὲν ταῖς τύχαις ἐπακολουθεῖν οὐδαμῶς ὀρθόν; οὐ γὰρ ἐν ταύταις τὸ εὖ ἢ κακῶς, ἀλλὰ προσδεῖται τούτων ὁ ἀνθρώπινος βίος, καθάπερ εἴπομεν, κύριαι δ᾽ εἰσὶν αἱ κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν ἐνέργειαι τῆς εὐδαιμονίας, αἱ δ᾽ ἐναντίαι τοῦ ἐναντίου. μαρτυρεῖ δὲ τῷ λόγῳ καὶ τὸ νῦν διαπορηθέν. περὶ οὐδὲν γὰρ οὕτως ὑπάρχει τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἔργων βεβαιότης ὡς περὶ τὰς ἐνεργείας τὰς κατ᾽ ἀρετήν: μονιμώτεραι γὰρ καὶ τῶν ἐπιστημῶν αὗται δοκοῦσιν εἶναι: τούτων δ᾽ αὐτῶν αἱ τιμιώταται μονιμώτεραι διὰ τὸ μάλιστα καὶ συνεχέστατα καταζῆν ἐν αὐταῖς τοὺς μακαρίους: τοῦτο γὰρ ἔοικεν αἰτίῳ τοῦ μὴ γίνεσθαι περὶ αὐτὰς λήθην. ὑπάρξει δὴ τὸ ζητούμενον τῷ εὐδαίμονι, καὶ ἔσται διὰ βίου τοιοῦτος: ἀεὶ γὰρ ἢ μάλιστα πάντων πράξει καὶ θεωρήσει τὰ κατ᾽ ἀρετήν, καὶ τὰς τύχας οἴσει κάλλιστα καὶ πάντῃ πάντως ἐμμελῶς ὅ γ᾽ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἀγαθὸς καὶ τετράγωνος ἄνευ ψόγου. πολλῶν δὲ γινομένων κατὰ τύχην καὶ διαφερόντων μεγέθει καὶ μικρότητι, τὰ μὲν μικρὰ τῶν εὐτυχημάτων, ὁμοίως δὲ καὶ τῶν ἀντικειμένων, δῆλον ὡς οὐ ποιεῖ ῥοπὴν τῆς ζωῆς, τὰ δὲ μεγάλα καὶ πολλὰ γινόμενα μὲν εὖ μακαριώτερον τὸν βίον ποιήσει （καὶ γὰρ αὐτὰ συνεπικοσμεῖν πέφυκεν, καὶ ἡ χρῆσις αὐτῶν καλὴ καὶ σπουδαία γίνεται）, ἀνάπαλιν δὲ συμβαίνοντα θλίβει καὶ λυμαίνεται τὸ μακάριον: λύπας τε γὰρ ἐπιφέρει καὶ ἐμποδίζει πολλαῖς ἐνεργείαις. ὅμως δὲ καὶ ἐν τούτοις διαλάμπει τὸ καλόν, ἐπειδὰν φέρῃ τις εὐκόλως πολλὰς καὶ μεγάλας ἀτυχίας, μὴ δι᾽ ἀναλγησίαν, ἀλλὰ γεννάδας ὢν καὶ μεγαλόψυχος. εἰ δ᾽ εἰσὶν αἱ ἐνέργειαι κύριαι τῆς ζωῆς, καθάπερ εἴπομεν, οὐδεὶς ἂν γένοιτο τῶν μακαρίων ἄθλιος: οὐδέποτε γὰρ πράξει τὰ μισητὰ καὶ τὰ φαῦλα. τὸν γὰρ ὡς ἀληθῶς ἀγαθὸν καὶ ἔμφρονα πάσας οἰόμεθα τὰς τύχας εὐσχημόνως φέρειν καὶ ἐκ τῶν ὑπαρχόντων ἀεὶ τὰ κάλλιστα πράττειν, καθάπερ καὶ στρατηγὸν ἀγαθὸν τῷ παρόντι στρατοπέδῳ χρῆσθαι πολεμικώτατα καὶ σκυτοτόμον ἐκ τῶν δοθέντων σκυτῶν κάλλιστον ὑπόδημα ποιεῖν: τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ τρόπον καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους τεχνίτας ἅπαντας. εἰ δ᾽ οὕτως, ἄθλιος μὲν οὐδέποτε γένοιτ᾽ ἂν ὁ εὐδαίμων, οὐ μὴν μακάριός γε, ἂν Πριαμικαῖς τύχαις περιπέσῃ. οὐδὲ δὴ ποικίλος γε καὶ εὐμετάβολος: οὔτε γὰρ ἐκ τῆς εὐδαιμονίας κινηθήσεται ῥᾳδίως, οὐδ᾽ ὑπὸ τῶν τυχόντων ἀτυχημάτων ἀλλ᾽ ὑπὸ μεγάλων καὶ πολλῶν, ἔκ τε τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἂν γένοιτο πάλιν εὐδαίμων ἐν ὀλίγῳ χρόνῳ, ἀλλ᾽ εἴπερ, ἐν πολλῷ τινὶ καὶ τελείῳ, μεγάλων καὶ καλῶν ἐν αὐτῷ γενόμενος ἐπήβολος. τί οὖν κωλύει λέγειν εὐδαίμονα τὸν κατ᾽ ἀρετὴν τελείαν ἐνεργοῦντα καὶ τοῖς ἐκτὸς ἀγαθοῖς ἱκανῶς κεχορηγημένον μὴ τὸν τυχόντα χρόνον ἀλλὰ τέλειον βίον; ἢ προσθετέον καὶ βιωσόμενον οὕτω καὶ τελευτήσοντα κατὰ λόγον; ἐπειδὴ τὸ μέλλον ἀφανὲς ἡμῖν ἐστίν, τὴν εὐδαιμονίαν δὲ τέλος καὶ τέλειον τίθεμεν πάντῃ πάντως. εἰ δ᾽ οὕτω, μακαρίους ἐροῦμεν τῶν ζώντων οἷς ὑπάρχει καὶ ὑπάρξει τὰ λεχθέντα, μακαρίους δ᾽ ἀνθρώπους. καὶ περὶ μὲν τούτων ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον διωρίσθω.