Sententia libri Ethicorum
Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics
The Good for Man
Subject Matter and End of Moral Philosophy
Omnis ars et omnis doctrina, similiter autem et actus et electio bonum quoddam appetere videtur. 
All arts and all teaching, and similarly every act and every choice, seem to have the attainment of some good as their object. 
Ideo bene enuntiaverunt bonum quod omnia appetunt. 
For this reason, it has correctly been proclaimed that good is what all desire. 
Differentia vero quaedam videtur finium. Hi quidem enim sunt operationes, hi vero praeter has opera quaedam. 
Now a certain diversity of ends is apparent, for some are operations while others are works outside the operations. 
Quorum autem sunt fines quidam praeter operationes, in his meliora existunt operationibus opera. 
If the ends are works, then the works are better than the operations. 
Multis autem operationibus entibus et artibus et doctrinis, multi fiunt et fines. Medicinalis quidem enim sanitas, navifactivae vero navigatio, militaris autem victoria, yconomicae vero divitiae. 
Since there are many operations, arts, and sciences, there must also be different ends for each of them. Thus, the end of medical art is health; of shipbuilding, navigation; of strategy, victory; of domestic economy, riches. 
Quaecumque autem sunt talium sub una quadam virtute, quemadmodum sub equestri frenifactiva et quaecumque aliae equestrium instrumentorum sunt, haec autem et omnis bellica operatio sub militari, secundum eundem utique modum aliae sub alteris. 
In all such skills, a subordination of one to another is found. For instance, the art of bridle-making is subordinated to the art of riding, as also are the arts which make riding equipment. The art of riding, in turn, and all military operations come under strategy. In a similar way, other arts are subordinated to still others. 
In omnibus utique architectonicarum fines omnibus sunt desiderabiliores his quae sunt sub ipsis. Horum enim gratia illa persequuntur. 
It follows, then, that, in all these, architectonic ends are more desirable than the ends subordinated to them. The reason is that men seek the latter for the sake of the former. 
Differt autem nihil operationes esse fines actuum aut praeter has aliud quoddam, quemadmodum in dictis doctrinis. 
It does not matter whether the ends are operations themselves or something other than the operations, as in the skills mentioned above. 
1. Sicut Philosophus dicit in principio Metaphysicae, sapientis est ordinare. Cuius ratio est quia sapientia est potissima perfectio rationis, cuius proprium est cognoscere ordinem; nam, etsi vires sensitivae cognoscant res aliquas absolute, ordinem tamen unius rei ad aliam cognoscere est solius intellectus aut rationis.
1. As the Philosopher says in the beginning of the Metaphysics, it is the business of the wise man to order. The reason for this is that wisdom is the most powerful perfection of reason, whose characteristic is to know order. Even if the sensitive powers know some things absolutely, nevertheless to know the order of one thing to another is exclusively the work of intellect or reason.
Invenitur autem duplex ordo in rebus:
Now, an order with two parts is found in things.
unus quidem partium alicuius totius seu alicuius multitudinis ad invicem, sicut partes domus ad invicem ordinantur;
One kind is that of parts of a totality—that is, a group—among themselves, as the parts of a house are mutually ordered to each other.
alius autem est ordo rerum in finem, et hic ordo est principalior quam primus.
The second order is that of things to an end, and this order is of greater importance than the first.
Nam, ut Philosophus dicit in XI Metaphysicae, ordo partium exercitus ad invicem est propter ordinem totius exercitus ad ducem.
For, as the Philosopher says in Metaphysics 11, the order of the parts of an army among themselves exists because of the order of the whole army to the commander.
Ordo autem quadrupliciter ad rationem comparatur:
Now, order is related to reason in a fourfold way.
est enim quidam ordo quem ratio non facit, sed solum considerat, sicut est ordo rerum naturalium;
There is one order that reason does not establish, but only beholds; such is the order of things in nature.
alius autem est ordo quem ratio considerando facit in proprio actu, puta cum ordinat conceptus suos ad invicem et signa conceptuum, quae sunt voces significativae;
There is a second order that reason establishes in its own act of consideration, such as when it arranges its concepts among themselves, and the signs of concepts as well, because words express the meanings of the concepts.
tertius autem est ordo quem ratio considerando facit in operationibus voluntatis;
There is a third order that reason, in deliberating, establishes in the operations of the will.
quartus autem est ordo quem ratio considerando facit in exterioribus rebus quarum ipsa est causa, sicut in arca et domo.
There is a fourth order that reason, in planning, establishes in the external things that it causes, such as a chest and a house.
2. Et quia consideratio rationis per habitum scientiae perficitur, secundum hos diversos ordines quos proprie ratio considerat sunt diversae scientiae: nam ad philosophiam naturalem pertinet considerare ordinem rerum quem ratio humana considerat sed non facit, ita quod sub naturali philosophia comprehendamus et mathematicam et metaphysicam; ordo autem quem ratio considerando facit in proprio actu pertinet ad rationalem philosophiam, cuius est considerare ordinem partium orationis ad invicem et ordinem principiorum in conclusiones; ordo autem actionum voluntariarum pertinet ad considerationem moralis philosophiae; ordo autem quem ratio considerando facit in rebus exterioribus constitutis per rationem humanam pertinet ad artes mechanicas. Sic igitur moralis philosophiae, circa quam versatur praesens intentio, proprium est considerare operationes humanas secundum quod sunt ordinatae ad invicem et ad finem.
2. Because the operation of reason is perfected by habit, a differentiation of sciences arises according to the different modes of order that reason considers in particular. The function of natural philosophy is to consider the order of things that human reason considers but does not establish—understanding that metaphysics is included here with natural philosophy. The order that reason makes in its own act of consideration pertains to rational philosophy (logic), which properly considers the order of the parts of verbal expression with one another and the order of principles to one another and to their conclusions. The order of voluntary actions pertains to the consideration of moral philosophy. The order that reason, in planning, establishes in external things arranged by human reason pertains to the mechanical arts. Accordingly, it is proper to moral philosophy, to which our attention is at present directed, to consider human operations insofar as they are ordered to one another and to an end.
3. Dico autem operationes humanas quae procedunt a voluntate hominis secundum ordinem rationis; nam, si quae operationes in homine inveniuntur quae non subiacent voluntati et rationi, non dicuntur proprie humanae sed naturales, sicut patet de operationibus animae vegetabilis, quae nullo modo cadunt sub consideratione moralis philosophiae. Sicut igitur subiectum philosophiae naturalis est motus vel res mobilis, ita etiam subiectum moralis philosophiae est operatio humana ordinata in finem vel etiam homo prout est voluntarie agens propter finem.
3. I am talking about human operations, which spring from man’s will according to the order of reason. But if some operations are found in man that are not subject to the will and reason, they are not properly called human, but natural, as clearly appears in operations of the vegetative soul. These in no way fall under the consideration of moral philosophy. As the subject of natural philosophy is motion, or mobile being, so the subject of moral philosophy is human action ordered to an end, or even man as he is an agent voluntarily acting for an end.
4. Sciendum est autem quod, quia homo naturaliter est animal sociale utpote qui indiget ad suam vitam multis quae sibi ipse solus praeparare non potest, consequens est quod homo naturaliter sit pars alicuius multitudinis per quam praestetur sibi auxilium ad bene vivendum.
4. It must be understood that, because man is by nature a social animal, needing many things to live that he cannot get for himself if alone, he naturally is a part of a group that provides him with help to live well.
Quo quidem auxilio indiget ad duo.
He needs this help for two reasons.
Primo quidem ad ea quae sunt vitae necessaria, sine quibus praesens vita transigi non potest; et ad hoc auxiliatur homini domestica multitudo cuius est pars, nam quilibet homo a parentibus habet generationem et nutrimentum et disciplinam et similiter etiam singuli qui sunt partes domesticae familiae se invicem iuvant ad necessaria vitae.
First, to have what is necessary for life, without which he cannot live the present life; for this, man is helped by the domestic group of which he is a part. For, every man is indebted to his parents for his generation, his nourishment, and his instruction. Likewise, individuals, who are members of the family, help one another to procure the necessities of life.
Alio modo iuvatur homo a multitudine cuius est pars ad vitae sufficientiam perfectam, scilicet ut homo non solum vivat, sed et bene vivat habens omnia quae sibi sufficiunt ad vitam; et sic homini auxiliatur multitudo civilis cuius ipse est pars, non solum quantum ad corporalia, prout scilicet in civitate sunt multa artificia ad quae una domus sufficere non potest, sed etiam quantum ad moralia, in quantum scilicet per publicam potestatem coercentur insolentes iuvenes metu poenae quos paterna monitio corrigere non valet.
In another way, man receives help from the group of which he is a part so as to have a perfect sufficiency for life—namely, so that he may not only live, but live well, having everything sufficient for living. In this way, man is helped by the civic group of which he is a member, not only in regard to bodily needs—as certainly in the state there are many crafts that a single household cannot provide—but also in regard to right conduct, inasmuch as public authority restrains with fear of punishment delinquent young men whom paternal admonition is not able to correct.
5. Sciendum est autem quod hoc totum quod est civilis multitudo vel domestica familia habet solam ordinis unitatem, secundum quam non est aliquid simpliciter unum; et ideo pars huius totius potest habere operationem quae non est operatio totius, sicut miles in exercitu habet operationem quae non est totius exercitus; habet nihilominus et ipsum totum aliquam operationem quae non est propria alicuius partium sed totius, puta conflictus totius exercitus; et tractus navis est operatio multitudinis trahentium navem. Est autem aliud totum quod habet unitatem non solum ordine sed compositione aut colligatione vel etiam continuitate, secundum quam unitatem est aliquid unum simpliciter; et ideo nulla est operatio partis quae non sit totius; in continuis enim idem est motus totius et partis, et similiter in compositis vel colligatis operatio partis principaliter est totius. Et ideo oportet quod ad eamdem scientiam pertineat consideratio talis totius et partis eius, non autem ad eamdem scientiam pertinet considerare totum quod habet solam ordinis unitatem et partes ipsius.
5. It must be known, moreover, that the whole that the political group or the family constitutes has only a unity of order, for it is not something absolutely one. A part of this whole, therefore, can have an operation that is not the operation of the whole, as a soldier in an army has an activity that does not belong to the whole army. However, this whole does have an operation that is not proper to its parts but to the whole—for example, an assault by the entire army. Likewise, the movement of a boat is a combined operation of the crew rowing the boat. There is also a kind of whole that has a unity not only of order but also of composition, or of conjunction, or even of continuity, and according to this unity, a thing is one absolutely; therefore, there is no operation of the part that does not belong to the whole. For, in things all of one piece, the motion of the whole and of the part is the same. Similarly, in composites and in conjoined things, the operation of a part is principally that of the whole. For this reason, such both considerations of the whole and those of its parts must belong to the same science. It does not, however, pertain to the same science to consider the whole, which has solely the unity of order, and the parts of this whole.
6. Et inde est quod moralis philosophia in tres partes dividitur,
6. Thus it is that moral philosophy is divided into three parts.
quarum prima considerat operationes unius hominis ordinatas ad finem quae vocatur monastica,
The first of these, which is called individual ethics, considers an individual’s operations as ordered to an end.
secunda autem considerat operationes multitudinis domesticae quae vocatur oeconomica,
The second, called domestic ethics, considers the operations of the domestic group.
tertia autem considerat operationes multitudinis civilis quae vocatur politica.
The third, called political science, considers the operations of the civic group.
7. Incipiens igitur Aristoteles tradere moralem philosophiam a prima sui parte in hoc libro qui dicitur Ethicorum, id est Moralium, praemittit prooemium, in quo tria facit:
7. Thus Aristotle, as he begins the treatment of moral philosophy in the first part of this book called the Ethics, or Morals, first gives an introduction in which he does three things.
primo enim ostendit de quo est intentio;
First, he shows what he intends to do.