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Posterior Analytics and the Definition of Happiness in NE I

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image of Phronesis

The first book of NE is organised on the model of investigating definitions described in the second Book of the Posterior Analytics, although, of course, with some adaptation due to the subject matter. It first establishes if the object exists and looks for the meaning of the terms used in common language to indicate it, next considers some necessary qualities of the object and then concludes with a definition of the object. We find there a dialectical syllogism of definition, and not the procedure in three steps described in NE VII 1, sometimes called ‘the method of ethics’. In fact, the method described in NE VII 1 does not apply to the first book of the NE. Its relevance for the NE has been somehow exaggerated.

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Filosofia e Teoria delle Scienze, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia Italy, Email:


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