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ἔστω δὴ ἀγαθόν κ.τ.λ.] The ‘popular’ character of these definitions is marked by the introductory ἔστω, ‘let it be taken for granted’; no demonstration is required, any current notion of good will serve our purpose. The same phraseology occurs again in a similar case, c. 7 § 2, ἔστω δὴ ὑπέρεχον κ.τ.λ.: c. 5 § 3, and 10 § 3.

First, ‘Good is anything that is in itself and for its own sake desirable (an object of choice), and that for whose sake we choose something else (which is the ulterior end of our preference for anything); and that which is the universal aim, either of everything or’ (as a qualification to exclude inanimate things) ‘everything that has sensation or reason, or (would be their aim) if they were to acquire the reasoning faculty’ (supposing they have it not yet, as infants and beasts). Comp. c. 7 § 21, λαβόντα τὰ πράγματα (anything) φρόνησιν ἔλοιτ᾽ ἂν ἕκαστον1.

The first of these two definitions, which represents Good as desirable in and for itself, and as that to obtain which we choose something else, is in fact identical with the second which describes it as the ultimate end or aim of all action and desire, only differing from it in terms. Every thing that we choose or desire, and every act that we perform, is as the means to one universal end, the Good. This view of the nature of Good is laid down and illustrated in the first chapter of the Nic. Eth. πᾶσα τέχνη καὶ πᾶσα μέθοδος, ὁμοίως δὲ πρᾶξίς τε καὶ προαίρεσις, ἀγαθοῦ τινὸς ἐφίεσθαι δοκεῖ: διὸ καλῶς ἀπεφήναντο (it is a current, popular, definition of) τἀγαθόν, οὗ πάντ᾽ ἐφίεταιεἰ δή τι τέλος ἐστι τῶν πρακτῶν δἰ αὑτὸ βουλόμεθα, τἆλλα δὲ διὰ τοῦτο (the means to the universal end) καὶ μὴ πάντα δἰ ἕτερον αἱρούμεθα, (there is something, i. e. Good, which we desire only for itself,)...δῆλον ὡς τοῦτ᾽ ἂν εἴη τἀγαθὸν καὶ τὸ ἄριστον, and so on. Comp. c. 5. Similarly at the commencement of the Politics, we find that this is the end of states as well as individuals, because τοῦ εἶναι δοκοῦντος ἀγαθοῦ χάριν πάντα πράττουσι πάντες. Comp. III 12, init. Metaph. B 2, 996 a 23—26, A 3, 983 a 31, τὸ οὗ ἕνεκα καὶ τἀγαθόν.

The same view of the nature of Good is to be found equally in Plato, from whom Aristotle may have derived it. See, for instance, Phileb. 53 E, seq. particularly 54 C, where good is proved to be the οὗ ἕνεκα, or universal end. Sympos. 205 A, where happiness, which consists in the possession of good, is similarly represented. Gorg. 499 E, τέλος εἶναι ἁπασῶν τῶν πράξεων τὸ ἀγαθὸν, καὶ ἐκείνου ἕνεκεν δεῖν πάντα τἆλλα πράττεσθαι, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἐκεῖνο τῶν ἄλλων. Euthyd. c. 8, 278 E, seq.

καὶ ὅσα νοῦς κ.τ.λ.] ‘And all that reason in general, or universal reason, would assign to each of us, and all that the individual reason assigns to each of us, that is good to every human being’. That is, all that this supreme or universal reason or the particular reason of each individual, would assign as suitable to each; the former what is good for all alike, the latter what is good for each particular individual; since these sometimes differ: or, as Schrader interprets it, the universal reason that dictates general principles or rules of action, as contrasted with νοῦς περὶ ἕκαστον, mens quae de singularibus decernit, which decides in special and individual cases. The reason as an agent is here opposed to mere nature, or to a blind natural impulse; the choice of good is a reasonable choice, good is what reason universal or individual would necessarily choose. (νοῦς stands here in a general sense for the special faculty or part of it φρόνησις2, the practical reason, the calculating discursive and moral part of the intellect, which directs us in our choice between good and evil. In Eth. Nic. VI, νοῦς in its proper sense, the intuitive and speculative reason, is distinguished from the διάνοια or discursive intellect, and its special virtue φρόνησις or practical wisdom).

‘Or that, by the presence of which anything (not only man in soul and body, but also things inanimate) is put in a healthy or proper condition (is made what it ought to be, what is best. for it to be) and made selfsufficing (independent of all external conditions), and self-sufficiency or independence in general’. On αὐτάρκεια see note on § 3 of Chapter V, p. 74, αὐτάρκεια ζωῆς. It is thus briefly defined Pol. IV (VII) 5, init. τὸ πάντα ὑπάρχειν καὶ δεῖσθαι μηθενός.

‘Or any thing that is productive or preservative of (tends to produce or preserve) things of that sort, or that which is attended by such, or things that have a tendency to prevent and destroy the opposites of these’. These forms of good belong to a lower order, subordinate to τὰ καθ᾽ αὑτὰ ἀγαθά, as means to the end. Eth. Nic. I 4, 1096 b 10, λέγεσθαι δὲ καθ᾽ ἓν εἶδος τὰ καθ̓ αὑτὰ διωκόμενα καὶ ἀγαπώμενα, τὰ δὲ ποιητικὰ τούτων φυλακτικά πως τῶν ἐναντίων κωλυτικὰ διὰ ταῦτα λέγεσθαι καὶ τρόπον ἄλλον.

1 Schrader quotes Cic. de Fin. I 11, non est igitur voluplas bonum. Hoc ne statuam quidem dicturam pater aiebat, si loqui posset. V. 14, earum etiam rerum quas terra gignit educatio quaedam et perfectio est—ut ipsae vites, si loqui possent, ila se tractandas tuendasque esse faterentur. Add Aesch. Agam. 37, οἶκος δ᾽ αὐτὸς εἰ φθογγὴν λάβοι σαφέστατ̓ ἂν λέξειεν. Eur. Iph. Taur. 51.

2 This is actually substituted for νοῦς in the corresponding passages c. 7 § 21.

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