By James Urmson
Aristotle's moral writings are one of the world's maximum, yet are simply misunderstood by means of the green. Professor Urmson, after 50 years of research, presents a transparent account of the most doctrines in an simply intelligible approach and with no residing on concerns of normally scholarly curiosity.
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52 Responsibility and Choice impossible it may be, and what is necessary for success, as competing is necessary if one is to win and arguing if one is to prove. What we thus do must be in our power if we are to choose to do it. The terminology used for making this distinction is usually that of calling the success 'the end' and what we choose in order to achieve success 'the means'. ). In a normal sense, 'means to the end' is far too restrictive. Thus, if the end, goal, success for which one wishes is to win a race, then the means that one might choose to take towards that end might include certain exercise and diet; but running the race would not normally be called a means towards winning.
Since it is always possible to make a mistake in trying to determine what is good, we should surely not agree that somebody wished for the good if we were sure that he had made a mistake and that in fact what he wished for was bad; we could also never be sure that anyone had a rational wish if wish is defined as for the good and error about the good is always possible. But if we choose the other alternative and say that wish is not for the good but only for the apparent good, there is an equally potent difficulty; if asked whether what we want, what we wish for, is just what seems to us to be good or what really is good, we should surely answer that it was the truly good.
He has said in his general account of excellence of character that the man of excellent character likes, enjoys, takes pleasure in performing excellent actions. But bravery, he recognizes, may involve facing distress, wounds and the prospect of death. So, he concludes that, contrary to the general rule, not all excellent activity is pleasant (1117b 15-16). But he tries to rescue at least a modified version of the doctrine. The brave man may find the action entailed distressing, but, like the boxer who willingly accepts painful blows, he acts as he does because the goal is pleasant.
Aristotle's Ethics by James Urmson