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THESE Chapters have grown out of an attempt to use the Nicomachean Ethics as an introduction to some of the more fundamental conceptions of Moral Philosophy. In spite of the prominent place which the Ethics has held for the last generation in English University education, the supply of literature dealing with its leading ideas which is accessible to the general student is singularly deficient. There is, of course, Sir Alexander Grant's great commentary. Grant, however, wrote at a time when both psychology and general philosophy in this country were in a comparatively backward state, and would himself have been the first to admit that the advance which is always being made in these departments of knowledge imposes upon each generation the duty of reinterpreting the ideas of the great writers of the past in terms that correspond to it. His work, moreover, is addressed to professed students, and for the most part presupposes that the reader has the Greek' text before him. The need of reinterpretation has, as is
well known, been supplied with signal success by Professor Stewart in his two volumes of Notes on the Nicomachean Ethics, a book which may well seem to the student to have exhausted the field and made any subsequent commentary in this generation superfluous. Professor Stewart, however, even more than Sir Alexander Grant, writes for scholars, and, as far as the English reader is concerned, leaves the new light he has to throw on Aristotelian study hidden under a bushel of textual criticism and interpretation.
It was this feature of his book that suggested to me that there might be room for an attempt such as that which follows to bring some of the leading conceptions of the Ethics into connexion with modern ideas for the sake of the general reader. While this is the main purpose of these Chapters, I venture to hope that they may not be found wholly useless to University students as an introduction both to the Ethics and to Moral Philosophy in general.
The form in which they are presented retains marks of their origin in a course of lectures to teachers of which they were the foundation. Their original design further accounts for the conspicuous omission of all reference to Aristotle's famous treatment of Justice in the fifth book, which falls rather to the side of politics than education.
The translation of the Selected Passages is founded on Bywater's classical text. In offering it along with