Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics
When I studied philosophy at Oxford, I immersed myself in the
daunting literature of Anglo-American moral philosophy -- or what
Aristotle might have called ethics.  A.J. Ayer and the emotivists,
R.M. Hare and the prescriptivists, John Rawls and the
contractarians,G.E. Moore and the intuitionists -- these and others
struggled not so much to define ethical behavior (in fact, they did
very little of that), but merely to establish a framework in which
moral precepts had definite meaning.  What frustration for the
aspiring student of philosophy -- like going to a restaurant and
never getting a meal, just spending the evening trying to decipher
the menu!

How refreshing to return from this to the robust world view of
Aristotle, where real behavior of living, breathing people is taken
seriously, and its ethical implications probed with vigor.   Perhaps
only Alasdair MacIntyre (see his highly recommended
After Virtue)
among modern philosophers has retained such a vivid sense of the
importance of ethical thinking in character formation and attaining
the good life.  In a modern age marked by moral relativism and the
collapse of objective standards, those seeking a guide to the
values that underpinned our cultural heritage will find no better
starting point than Aristotle's classic work.

WEB RESOURCES

Here you will find a useful set of links for Aristotle's ethics and
other virtue-based approaches to moral philosophy.

W.D. Ross's translation of this work can be found at
this link.  

Aristotle finishes no higher than ninth in the
vote for the greatest
philosopher of all time!  This is a disgrace. . .
TIPS FOR READERS

I first studied the
Nicomachean Ethics
inthe
translation of
W.D. Ross, which is
clearly written and
widely available.

No good introduction
of Aristotle is
available for younger
readers.  However,
Mortimer J. Adler has
given us his
Aristotle
for Everybody, which
he initially planned to
name Aristotle for
Children.   He claims
that it is suitable for
ages twelve and
above, but I feel that
a student in their
mid-teens would
benefit more from
this introductory
guide.