Eudemian Ethics

The Eudemian Ethics (Greek: Ἠθικὰ Εὐδήμεια; Latin: Ethica Eudemia[1]), sometimes abbreviated EE in scholarly works, is a work of philosophy by Aristotle. Its primary focus is on Ethics, making it one of the primary sources available for study of Aristotelian Ethics. It is named for Eudemus of Rhodes, a pupil of Aristotle who may also have had a hand in editing the final work.[2] It is commonly believed to have been written before the Nicomachean Ethics, though this is not without controversy.[2][3]

The Eudemian Ethics is less well-known than Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, and when scholars refer simply to the Ethics of Aristotle, the second of the two is generally intended. The Eudemian Ethics is shorter than the Nicomachean Ethics, eight books as opposed to ten, and some of its most interesting passages are mirrored in the latter. Books IV, V, and VI of the Eudemian Ethics, for example, are identical to Books V, VI, and VII of the Nicomachean Ethics, and as a result some critical editions of the former include only Books I–III and VII–VIII (the omitted books being included in the publisher's critical edition of the latter).

The translator for the Loeb edition, Harris Rackham, states in the Introduction to that edition that "in some places The Eudemian Ethics is fuller in expression or more discursive than The Nicomachean Ethics." Compared to the Nicomachean Ethics, Rackham mentions, for example in Book III, which discusses the virtues and some minor graces of character:

Book VII is concerning friendship, discussed in greater length and detail in the Nicomachean Ethics than it is here.

Book VIII discusses the epistemological aspect of virtue, which as Rackham notes is treated in Book I section 9 of Nicomachean Ethics, and also discusses good luck. Then there is a section concerning kalokagathia, the beautiful and good nobility of a gentleman, a virtue which implies all the moral virtues as well as good fortune. This has no parallel in the Nicomachean Ethics. And then finally there is some discussion of speculative wisdom or "theoria".


  1. Aristotelis Opera by August Immanuel Bekker (1837)
  2. 1 2 Rackham, "Introduction", The Eudemian Ethics, Harvard University Press
  3. p. xii, M. Woods, Aristotle's Eudemian Ethics: Books I, II, and VIII, Clarendon Press 1982.
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