A Modified al-Farabian Interpretation of Arisotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
Marginalia, Vol.3, (2006)
Nothing in Aristotelian texts seems to vex readers more than Aristotle’s position on what the happy life is. Does it consist in a life of all of the virtues, or is it to be found in a life of pure contemplation? The problem arises out of the fact that Aristotle himself seems to suggest both of these views at different points in his Nicomachean Ethics. Contemporary scholarship has split into two broad interpretations: inclusivism and intellectualism, with many varieties in between the two extremes. Simply put, inclusivists claim that practical and theoretical virtues are both needed for the ethical life, while intellectualists argue that, although moral virtues are good, it is the life of contemplation wherein true happiness lies. Again, the dilemma is that Aristotle himself seems to support both of these views.