Aristotle on the Best Good: Is Nicomachean Ethics 1094a18-22 Fallacious?

Phronesis 50 (2):116-128 (2005)
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Abstract
The first sentence of NE I.2 has roughly the form: "If A [there is a universal end] and B, then D [this end will be the best good]". According to some commentators, Aristotle uses B to infer A; but then the sentence is fallacious. According to other commentators, Aristotle does not use B ; but then the sentence is bizarre. Contrary to both sets of commentators, I suggest that Aristotle uses B together with A to infer validly that there is a non-instrumental – and thus unique – universal end. On this interpretation the above two problems disappear, but a subtler problem emerges: not-B does not entail C.
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