Volume 10, Issue 1, 2019
Epistemology’s Ancient Origins and New Developments
The Practical Life, the Contemplative Life, and the Perfect Eudaimonia in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics 10.7-8
Two views continue to be defended today. One is that the account of eudaimonia in EN 10 is inconsistent with claims made about it in other books of the work. The other view is that the account in EN 10 is consistent with other claims made in the other books because Aristotle presents one account of perfect eudaimonia by portraying it as consisting solely in contemplative activity. I call this view the intellectualist interpretation. I then argue that neither view is correct because although Aristotle’s position is consistent, he does not hold that the perfect eudaimonia for a human being involves nothing but excellent theoretical activity. His philosopher possesses and exercises the moral excellences and practical wisdom and so some portion of his happiness consists in these activities as well as contemplative activity.