HomeIAMURE International Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Religionvol. 3 no. 1 (2013)

Aristotelian Ethics is a Theoretical Science

Glenn G. Pajares

Discipline: Philosophy



Aristotelian ethics is widely accepted by many scholars as a practical science. However, this study showed that it is not after all a practical science but a speculative or theoretical science. Having employed textual analysis on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, it was found out that eudaimonia the Highest Good/Chief Good which is the ultimate goal of Ethics is achieved not through action but through contemplation. Contemplation is the act not of the will but of intellect. Hence, the highest virtue or excellence of man is the fulfilment of highest faculty which is reason in contemplation of the Chief Good. The Chief Good, which is characterized by Aristotle as final, complete, and Self-Sufficient End is not physical and concrete but rather incorporeal and abstract because such qualities cannot be found among corporeal entities. Thus, Aristotelian ethics is metaphysics; it is neither concrete nor practical. Moreover, happiness cannot be the Chief Good because happiness is merely an activity, a quality, and a disposition and an activity cannot be identified as end which is desired for its own sake. Therefore, the Chief Good must be a substance and this substance is the Final Cause/the Necessary Being which is the End of all ends and the Good of all goods.