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since we take it as a means to further activity. (iii) And the life that conforms with virtue is thought to be a happy life; but virtuous life involves serious purpose, and does not consist in amusement. [7]

(iv) Also we pronounce serious things to be superior to things that are funny and amusing; and the nobler a faculty or a person is, the more serious, we think, are their activities; therefore, the activity of the nobler faculty or person is itself superior, and therefore more productive of happiness. [8]

(v) Also anybody can enjoy the pleasures of the body, a slave no less than the noblest of mankind; but no one allows a slave any measure of happiness, any more than a life of his own.1 Therefore happiness does not consist in pastimes and amusements, but in activities in accordance with virtue, as has been said already. 7.

But if happiness consists in activity in accordance with virtue, it is reasonable that it should be activity in accordance with the highest virtue; and this will be the virtue of the best part of us. Whether then this be the intellect, or whatever else it be that is thought to rule and lead us by nature, and to have cognizance of what is noble and divine, either as being itself also actually divine, or as being relatively the divinest part of us, it is the activity of this part of us in accordance with the virtue proper to it that will constitute perfect happiness; and it has been stated already2 that this activity is the activity of contemplation. [2]

And that happiness consists in contemplation may be accepted as agreeing both with the results already reached and with the truth. For contemplation is at once the highest form of

1 Cf. Aristot. Pol. 1280a 32 ‘Slaves and lower animals are not members of the state, because they do not participate in happiness nor in purposeful life.’

2 This does not appear to have been stated exactly, but in Book 6 (see esp. 5.3, 13.8) it was shown that σοφία, the virtue of the higher part of the intellect, is the highest of the virtues.

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