I had intended, originally, to cover in one work all the ethical topics that have come down to us from Aristotle, but was unable to make room here for some that certainly deserve a place. Hence the absence of what I would have had to say about Aristotle on the individual moral virtues, on friendship, on justice and on the foundations of politics. I have likewise had to postpone for the time being any systematic attempt to situate Aristotle's views in relation to contemporary ethics or in the history of philosophy itself. My main concern here was to make as clear as I could what has registered with me as crucial for the understanding of Aristotle's ethics.
Although the Eudemian Ethics is still much less well known than it deserves, I have followed tradition in treating the Nicomachean Ethics as the principal text, including, of course, the common books V-VII (= EE IV-VI). I have, however, gone to the EE for general support throughout, as well as for the special light it sheds on the contingency of the voluntary, the structure of rational choice and the virtue of nobility. I agree with those who identify the EE as the first home of the common books, but nonetheless take it that Aristotle himself would have sanctioned placing them in the Nicomachean context. None of my arguments depends on assigning a Eudemian or a Nicomachean origin to any given passage in the common books. Nor have I had to presuppose any particular order of composition as between the two treatises.
Except where it is otherwise stated, I have used the Revised Oxford Translation when quoting from Aristotle.
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