Complete Life in the Eudemian Ethics

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In the Eudemian Ethics II 1, 1219a34–b8, Aristotle defines happiness as ‘the activity of a complete life in accordance with complete virtue’. Most scholars interpret a complete life as a whole lifetime, which means that happiness involves virtuous activity over an entire life. This article argues against this common reading by using Aristotle’s notion of ‘activity’ (energeia) as a touchstone. It argues that happiness, according to the Eudemian Ethics, must be a complete activity that reaches its end at any and every moment. The upshot of this reading is that life reaches completeness within a lifetime and that death cannot be the requirement for making life complete.
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Archival date: 2022-05-11
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