Classical Ethics Book I Chapter I: What do these sentences mean?

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  • #343491
    AvatarMaris MacKenzie
    Participant

    Hello,

    In Book I Chapter I of Ethics it says, “But in all these, the ends of those arts which are architectonic, or master arts, are more eligible than all the ends of the arts which are subordinate to the master arts.  For the latter are pursued for the sake of the former.”

     

    Does this mean that the master arts are better than the others, because the others are pursued in order to accomplish the master arts?

     

    Thank you very much!

     

    In Christ,

    Maris

    #343494
    AvatarColette Boucher
    Participant

    Hello Maris!
    I understood this to mean that the master arts are better because they are sought after for the sake of the subordinate arts. For example: for the bridle making art, the equestrian art is understood to learn bridle making, and many arts are arranged under the equestrian art, making it a master art. So, because the master art is sought to learn one of the subordinate arts, it is better then the subordinate arts.
    I hope this helps!
    God Bless,
    Colette Boucher

    #343673
    Ava M BolligAva M Bollig
    Participant

    Good morning Maris,

    Architectonic arts, or master arts, in Aristotle’s Ethics, are arts which have other arts arranged under them.  These lesser arts are sought for the sake of the higher arts.  The example Aristotle gives is the bridle-making art.  We seek to learn this art for the sake of the equestrian art, which in turn we seek to learn for the sake of the military art.  Therefore, the military art is an architectonic art, because it has other, lesser arts arranged under it (namely, the equestrian art and the bridle-making art).  Now, in answer to your question, I believe what Aristotle means by the sentence you quoted is that the end (the purpose for which we do a thing; i.e. I exercise to be healthy) of the architectonic art are more desirable than the ends of the arts which are placed below the master art.  His reason for this is that we pursue the lesser arts for the sake of the higher arts.  Later on in Ethics, Aristotle says that things which we seek for their own sake, and on account of which we desire other things, are more excellent than those which we seek for the sake of something else.  Therefore, because we are seeking the lesser arts for the sake of the master art, their ends are less excellent than that of the master art.  I hope this answers your question!

     

    God Bless,

    Ava Bollig

    #343714
    AvatarMaris MacKenzie
    Participant

    Thank you both for helping me!

     

    In Christ,

    Maris MacKenzie

    #343940
    Ava M BolligAva M Bollig
    Participant

    You’re welcome!  Glad I could help.

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