Complete Life in the Eudemian Ethics

Apeiron: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy and Science 53 (2):299–323 (2023)
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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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Hilde Vinje
University of Agder


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