On Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics 1-4, 7-8 (Ancient Commentators on Aristotle) (Chapters 1-4, 7-8)
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Until the launch of this series nearly twenty years ago, the 15,000 volumes of the ancient Greek commentators on Aristotle, written mainly between 200 and 600 AD, constituted the largest corpus of extant Greek philosophical writings not translated into English or other European languages. Aspasius' commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, of which six books have come down to us, is the oldest surviving Greek commentary on any of Aristotle's works, dating to the middle of the second century AD. It offers precious insight into the thinking and pedagogical methods of the Peripatetic school in the early Roman Empire, and provides illuminating discussions of numerous technical points in Aristotle's treatise, along with valuable excursuses on such topics as the nature of the emotions. This is the first complete translation of Aspasius' work in any modern language.
pleasing for someone is lovable for someone.433 After this he distinguishes a feeling of love (philêsis) as being other than love. Now, this is evident also from other things: for mothers love their offspring when they are still infants. This is indeed a feeling of love, but in no way is this love:434 for they do not love mutually. Erotic lovers (erastês) also love, but it is not always [mutual] love (philia): for sometimes they are even hated by their beloveds. He uses a very vivid example:
itself, while the pleasant and the useful are so incidentally and on account of something else. It is, indeed, because an object is pleasing or useful to the one who loves, that it is loved, but the good is loved for itself. This is especially obvious in the case of good people. For a good person is loved by a good person for nothing other than for himself, but a useful person is loved not for himself but on account of his usefulness, and a pleasing person on account of pleasure. Aristotle
admit of a mean and an excess and a lack, for example in the giving of money: for in fact it is possible to give too much, which is the product of vice in respect to excess, and to give too little, which is that of vice in respect to deficiency, and in the middle, which is the product of virtue alone. In such emotions and actions, then, there are excess and mean and lack. Some emotions and some actions do not admit of the mean, but rather, as he says, the emotion or the action ‘is, when it has
sees such a work must marvel at it, and a munificent thing should be marvellous. The virtue of a work is munificence in magnitude, that is if it is great and well-established. ‘Of expenditures’ (1122b19), he says, honourable ones are
simply, and others good for someone. For some natural dispositions and habitual states are good simply, for example virtues, while others are so for some people, for example the natural conditions and habitual bodily states of health, vitality, and keen senses. For these are goods for someone, namely a worthy person, and on this account they are also called goods simply. A sickly habitual state is also a good for someone, I mean for a wicked person. Upon the fact that some habitual states are a