2087. Secundo ibi: optima et enim et cetera, probat propositum sex rationibus.
2087. Next, at for contemplation (1177a19), he proves his statement by six arguments.
Prima ergo ratio talis est. Dictum est prius quod felicitas est optima operatio. Optima autem inter operationes humanas est speculatio veritatis, et hoc patet ex duobus ex quibus pensatur dignitas operationis:
The first is that happiness is the highest activity, as was pointed out before . But the highest of human activities is contemplation of truth, and this is evident from the two reasons by which we judge the excellence of activity.
uno modo ex parte potentiae, quae est operationis principium, et sic patet hanc operationem esse optimam sicut et intellectus est optimum eorum quae in nobis sunt, ut prius ostensum est;
It is evident first on the part of the faculty that is the principle of the activity. Thus, this activity is obviously the highest, as the intellect is also the best element in us, as explained before [2080–85].
alio modo ex parte obiecti, quod dat speciem operationi, et secundum hoc etiam haec operatio est optima, quia inter omnia cognoscibilia optima sunt intelligibilia et praecipue divina. Et sic in eorum speculatione consistit perfecta humana felicitas.
Second, it is evident on the part of the object determining the species of the activity. Here, too, this activity is the highest, for among the objects that can be known, the supra-sensible—especially the divine—are the highest. And so it is in the contemplation of these objects that the perfect happiness of man consists.
2088. Secundam rationem ponit ibi: adhuc autem continuissima et cetera. Ostensum enim est in primo quod felicitas est maxime continua et permanens. Inter omnes autem operationes humanas continuissima est speculatio veritatis; manifestum est enim quod magis continue potest homo perseverare in speculatione veritatis quam in quacumque alia operatione.
2088. He offers the second argument at it is also (1177a21). As shown in book 1 , happiness is especially continuous and lasting. But the most continuous of all human activities is the contemplation of truth. For, it is clear that man can persevere in the contemplation of truth more continuously than in any other activity.
2089. Cuius ratio est quia necesse est discontinuari operationem nostram propter laborem quem non possumus continue ferre; labor autem et fatigatio accidit in operationibus nostris propter passibilitatem corporis quod alteratur et removetur a naturali dispositione sua; unde, cum intellectus in sua operatione minimum utatur corpore, sequitur quod minimum eius operationi adveniat labor et fatigatio, quae nulla esset si intellectus in speculando non indigeret phantasmatibus existentibus in organis corporeis. Et sic patet quod maxime invenitur felicitas in speculatione veritatis propter eius continuitatem.
2089. The reason for this is that interruption of our activity is necessary, for we are incapable of laboring without a break. Now, distress and weariness come about in our labors from the passibility of the body, which is changed and removed from its natural condition. Since the intellect uses the body very little in operating, it follows that its activity is only slightly affected by toil and fatigue. And there would be none of this if the intellect did not need the phantasms existing in the organs of the body. Thus, it is clear that happiness is found most of all in the contemplation of truth because of its freedom from labor.
2090. Tertiam rationem ponit ibi: existimamusque et cetera. Et dicit quod, sicut in primo dictum est, communiter existimamus quod felicitati delectatio adiungatur. Inter omnes autem operationes virtutis delectabilissima est contemplatio sapientiae, sicut est manifestum et concessum ab omnibus. Habet enim philosophia in sapientiae contemplatione delectationes admirabiles et quantum ad puritatem et quantum ad firmitatem. Puritas quidem talium delectationum attenditur ex hoc quod sunt circa res immateriales, firmitas autem earum attenditur secundum hoc quod sunt circa res immutabiles;
2090. He presents the third argument, at again, we think, by observing that we commonly suppose that pleasure is associated with happiness, as was indicated in book 1 . But the most delightful of all virtuous activities is the contemplation of wisdom—an evident fact conceded by everyone. For, in the contemplation of wisdom, philosophy offers pleasures marvelous both in purity and permanence. The purity of these pleasures is perceived in that they deal with immaterial objects. Their permanence is perceived in that their objects are unchangeable.
2091. qui enim delectatur circa res materiales incurrit quamdam impuritatem affectus ex hoc quod circa inferiora occupatur, qui autem circa res mutabiles delectatur non potest firmam delectationem habere quia, mutata re aut corrupta quae delectationem afferebat, delectatio cessat et quandoque in tristitiam vertitur. Dicit autem delectationes philosophiae esse admirabiles propter inconsuetudinem talium delectationum apud multitudinem hominum, qui in rebus materialibus delectantur.
2091. A person taking pleasure in material objects incurs some impurity of affection from being engrossed with inferior things, and a person taking pleasure in changeable objects cannot have lasting enjoyment, for when the object affording pleasure is changed or destroyed, the pleasure itself ceases and sometimes becomes painful. Now, he calls the pleasures of philosophy marvelous because of the infrequency of such pleasures among men who find enjoyment in material things.
2092. Speculatio veritatis est duplex:
2092. Contemplation of truth is twofold.
una quidem quae consistit in inquisitione veritatis;
One consists in the investigation of truth,
alia vero quae consistit in contemplatione veritatis iam inventae et cognitae,
and the other in the reflection on the truth already discovered and known.
et hoc perfectius est, cum sit terminus et finis inquisitionis; unde et maior est delectatio in consideratione veritatis iam cognitae quam in inquisitione eius. Et ideo dicit quod delectabilius conversantur illi qui iam sciunt veritatem, habentes intellectum perfectum per intellectualem virtutem, quam illi qui adhuc inquirunt eam. Unde perfecta felicitas non consistit in quacumque speculatione intellectus, sed in ea quae est secundum propriam virtutem ipsius.
The second is more perfect, since it is the term and end of investigation. Consequently, greater pleasure is found in the consideration of truth already known than is found in its investigation. For this reason, he declares that people who already know the truth and have their reason perfected by its intellectual virtue spend their life more delightfully. Hence, perfect happiness does not consist in contemplation indiscriminately, but in that which corresponds to its proper virtue.
2093. Quartam rationem ponit ibi: et quae dicitur et cetera. Ostensum est enim in primo quod per se sufficientia, quae graece dicitur autarchia, requiritur ad felicitatem. Huiusmodi autem per se sufficientia maxime invenitur circa speculativam operationem, ad quam homo non indiget nisi his quae sunt necessaria omnibus ad communem vitam; indiget enim necessariis vitae tam sapiens, scilicet speculativus, quam etiam iustus et reliqui habentes virtutes morales quae perficiunt vitam activam.
2093. He gives the fourth argument at then, too, the quality. We have shown in book 1 [107–14] that self-sufficiency—in Greek, autarchia—is necessary for happiness. But this self-sufficiency is found most of all in contemplation, for which man needs only what is commonly required for social living. For the necessaries of life are indeed needed both by the wise or contemplative man and by the just man and others possessing the moral virtues that perfect the active life.
2094. Si autem alicui dentur sufficienter necessaria vitae, adhuc pluribus indiget virtuosus secundum virtutem moralem; indiget enim iustus ad suam operationem aliis,
2094. When the necessaries of life are sufficiently provided, the man who is good according to moral virtue needs still more. The just man needs other men for his activity.
et primo quidem illis ad quos debet iuste agere, quia iustitia ad alterum est, ut dictum est in quinto,
First, he needs those toward whom he should act justly, since justice refers to another person—as was pointed out in book 5 [909, 934].
secundo autem indiget aliquibus cum quibus operetur iustitiam, ad quod indiget homo frequenter multorum auxilio; et eadem ratio est de temperato et forti et de aliis virtuosis moraliter.
Second, he needs others as helpers to do justice, for in this, a man frequently requires the assistance of many people. The same argument holds for the temperate or the brave man and for other persons who are good according to moral virtue.
2095. Sed non est ita de sapiente speculativo, qui potest speculari veritatem etiam si solus secundum se ipsum existat, quia contemplatio veritatis est operatio penitus intrinseca ad exterius non procedens, et tanto aliquis magis poterit solus existens speculari veritatem quanto fuerit magis perfectus in sapientia, quia talis plura cognoscit et minus indiget ab aliis instrui vel iuvari.
2095. But this is not the case with the contemplative philosopher, who can contemplate truth even if he lives by himself. The reason is that contemplation of the truth is an entirely internal activity, not proceeding externally. And, the more a person can contemplate the truth when living by himself, the more perfect he will be in wisdom. This is so because such a man knows much and has little need of help and instruction from others.
2096. Nec hoc dicitur quia contemplantem non iuvet societas, quia, ut in octavo dictum est, duo simul convenientes et intelligere et agere magis possunt, et ideo subdit melius esse sapienti quod habeat cooperatores circa considerationem veritatis, quia interdum unus videt quod alteri, licet sapientiori, non occurrit. Et quamvis sapiens ab aliis iuvetur, tamen inter omnes ipse per se magis sibi sufficit ad propriam operationem. Et sic patet quod maxime in operatione sapientiae invenitur felicitas.
2096. This does not mean that companionship is not a help to contemplation, since two together are more effective in intellectual and practical activity, as was pointed out in book 8 . For this reason, he adds that it is better for the philosopher to have fellow workers in the study of truth because sometimes one sees what does not occur to another, who is perhaps wiser. And, although the philosopher is helped by others, nevertheless, of himself, he is more adequate than anyone for his own activity. So, it is evident that happiness is found in the activity of wisdom most of all.
2097. Quintam rationem ponit ibi: videbitur autem utique et cetera. Ostensum est enim in primo quod felicitas est ita per se appetibilis quod nullo modo appetitur propter aliud. Hoc autem apparet in sola speculatione sapientiae quod propter se ipsam diligatur et non propter aliud: nihil enim homini accrescit ex contemplatione veritatis praeter ipsam veritatis speculationem, sed ex exterioribus operabilibus semper homo acquirit aliquid praeter ipsam operationem aut plus aut minus, puta honorem et gratiam apud alios, quae non acquirit sapiens ex sua contemplatione nisi per accidens, in quantum scilicet veritatem contemplatam aliis enuntiat, quod iam pertinet ad exteriorem actionem. Sic ergo patet quod felicitas maxime consistit in operatione contemplationis.
2097. He states the fifth reason at moreover, this activity (1177b1; ). Now happiness is so desirable in itself that it is never sought for the sake of anything else, as explained in the book 1. But this is evident only in the contemplation of wisdom, which is loved for itself and not for something else. In fact, the contemplation of truth adds nothing to a man apart from itself, but external activity secures for him a greater or lesser benefit beyond the action, for example, honor or favor with others. This is not acquired by the philosopher from his contemplation except incidentally, inasmuch as he communicates to others the truth contemplated—something that is now a part of external activity. Therefore, it is obvious that happiness consists in contemplation most of all.
Happiness and Leisure
Videturque felicitas in vacatione esse; non vacamus enim ut vacemus et bellamus ut pacem ducamus. Practicarum quidem igitur virtutum in politicis vel bellicis operationes, quae autem circa haec actiones videntur non vacantes esse. Bellicae quidem et penitus: nullus enim eligit bellare eius quod est bellare gratia neque praeparare bellum; videtur enim utique omnino violentus occisor quis esse, si amicos oppugnatores faceret ut pugnae et occisiones fierent. Est autem et quae politici non vacans et praeter ipsum civiliter conversari acquirens potentatus et honores vel magis et felicitatem ipsi et civibus, alteram existentem a politica, quam et quaerimus manifestum ut alteram existentem. Si utique eas quidem quae secundum virtutes actiones politicae et bellicae pulcritudine et magnitudine praecellunt, hae autem non vacantes et finem aliquem appetunt et non propter se ipsas sunt eligibiles, intellectus autem operatio studio differre videtur speculativa existens et praeter ipsam nullum appetere finem habereque delectationem propriam, haec autem coauget operationem, et per se sufficiens utique et vacativum utique et illaboriosum ut humanum et quaecumque alia beato attribuuntur, secundum hanc operationem apparent entia, perfecta igitur felicitas haec utique erit hominis, accipiens longitudinem vitae perfectam; nihil enim imperfectum est eorum quae felicitatis. 
And happiness is thought to depend on leisure, for we are busy in order to have leisure, and we wage war in order to attain peace. Now the exercise of the practical virtues is evident in political and military affairs, but actions concerned with these seem to be without leisure. This is completely the case with warlike activity, for no one chooses to wage war or provoke it merely for the sake of fighting. Indeed, a man would be considered a murderous character if he turned his friends into enemies for the sake of causing battles and slaughter. But the activity of the statesman is also without leisure, and—apart from participation in politics—aims at positions of power and honor or even the happiness of himself and fellow citizens as something distinct from political activity (and we are investigating it as something distinct). Even if, among the activities of the moral virtues, political and military actions stand out prominent both in nobility and in greatness, they are without leisure, aiming at some other end, and are not desirable for their own sakes. On the other hand, the activity of the intellect, being contemplative, is thought to be different by reason of serious application, both in desiring no end beyond itself and in possessing a proper pleasure that increases its activity. So contemplation seems to have self-sufficiency, leisureliness, freedom from labor (as far as humanly possible), and all other activities usually assigned to the happy man. Therefore, man’s perfect happiness will consist in this activity of the intellect, if a long span of life be added (as nothing belonging to happiness should be incomplete). 
Tatis autem utique erit melior vita quam secundum hominem. Non enim secundum quod homo est sic vivet, sed secundum quod divinum aliquid in ipso existit. Quanto autem differt hoc a composito, tanto et operatio ab ea quae secundum aliam virtutem. Si itaque divinum intellectus ad hominem, et quae secundum hunc vita divina ad humanam vitam. 
Such a life is higher than the human level, and it is not lived by man according to the human mode, but according to something divine in him. And, so far as this differs from the composite, to that extent its activity differs from the activity flowing from the other kind of virtue. Therefore, if the intellect is divine in comparison with man, so is its life divine in comparison with human life. 
Oportet autem non secundum suadentes humana sapere hominem entem neque mortalia mortalem, sed, in quantum contingit, immortale facere et omnia facere ad vivere secundum optimum eorum quae in ipso. Si enim et mole parvum est, potentia et pretiositate multum magis omnibus superexcellit. Videbitur autem utique et unumquodque esse hoc, si quidem principale et melius; inconveniens igitur fiet utique si non sui ipsius vitam eligat, sed alicuius alterius. Quod et dictum prius, congruet et nunc: proprium enim unicuique, natura optimum et delectabilissimum est unicuique; et homini utique quae secundum intellectum vita, si quidem maxime hoc homo. Iste ergo et felicissimus. 
Nor ought we to follow the philosophers who advise man to study human things, and mortals to study mortality, but we ought to strive to attain immortality so far as possible and to exert all our power to live according to the best thing in us. For, though this is a small part of us, it far surpasses all else in power and value; it may seem even to be the true self of each, being the principal and better part. Consequently, it would be strange if a person were to choose to live not his own life, but the life of some other. Moreover, our previous statement is applicable here: what is proper to the nature of each thing is best and most pleasant for it. So, then, the life of the intellect is best and most pleasant for man, since the intellect more than anything else is man. This life, therefore, will be the happiest. 
2098. Videturque felicitas et cetera. Positis quinque rationibus ex quibus ostendebatur quod felicitas consistit in speculatione veritatis secundum convenientiam ad ea quae supra dicta sunt, hic addit sextam quae procedit ex quadam conditione felicitatis quam supra non posuerat. Felicitas enim consistit in quadam vacatione; vacare enim dicitur aliquis quando non restat ei aliquid agendum, quod contingit cum aliquis iam ad finem pervenerit, et ideo subdit quod non vacamus ut facemus, id est laboramus operando, quod est non vacare, ut perveniamus ad quiescendum in fine, quod est vacare, et hoc ostendit per exemplum bellantium, qui ad hoc bella gerunt quod ad pacem adoptatam perveniant.
2098. And happiness is thought to depend on leisure. After Aristotle has presented five reasons to show that happiness consists in the contemplation of truth, he now adds a sixth reason not previously mentioned arising from a feature of happiness. Now, happiness involves a kind of leisure. For a person is said to have leisure when he has nothing further to do—a condition in which he finds himself on arriving at some goal. For this reason, the Philosopher adds that we are busy in order to have leisure; that is, we are active in working—this is being busy—in order to rest at the end, and this is having leisure. And he finds an example of this in soldiers who wage war to obtain a desirable peace.
2099. Est tamen considerandum quod supra Philosophus dixit quod requies sit gratia operationis; sed ibi locutus fuit de requie qua intermittitur operatio ante consecutionem finis propter impossibilitatem continue operandi, quae quidem requies ordinatur ad operationem sicut ad finem; vacatio autem est requies in fine ad quem ordinatur operatio, et sic felicitati quae est ultimus finis maxime competit vacatio. Quae quidem non invenitur in operationibus virtutum practicarum, quarum praecipue sunt illae quae consistunt in rebus politicis, utpote ordinantes bonum commune quod est divinissimum, vel in rebus bellicis, quibus ipsum bonum commune defenditur contra hostes, et tamen his operibus non competit vacatio.
2099. We should note, as the Philosopher stated before , that rest should be taken for the sake of activity. But there he was speaking of rest that, before attaining the end, suspends activity because of the impossibility of uninterrupted labor—this rest being ordered to activity as an end. On the other hand, leisure is rest to which activity is ordered in the end. Thus understood, leisure is a special property of happiness, the ultimate end; it is not found in the activities of the practical virtues. Prominent among these are the virtues dealing with political affairs involving the direction of the common or most divine good and with warfare involving the defense of the common good against enerdies; nevertheless, in such activities, leisure has no part.
2100. Et primo quidem circa bellicas operationes hoc est penitus manifestum, quia nullus eligit bella gerere aut praeparare bella solum gratia bellandi, quod esset vacationem habere in rebus bellicis, quia si in bellis gerendis finem suum constitueret, sequeretur quod esset violentus et occisor, in tantum quod etiam de amicis faceret impugnatores ad hoc quod posset pugnare et occidere.
2100. In the first place, this is entirely clear in military operations, since no one chooses to wage war or to provoke it solely for the sake of fighting, which would be to have leisure for warfare. The reason is that, if someone were to make his end the waging of war, he would be a murderous character turning his friends into enemies so that he could fight and kill.
2101. Secundo etiam hoc manifestum est in actionibus politicis quod non est in eis vacatio, sed praeter ipsam conversationem civilem vult homo acquirere aliquid aliud, puta potentatus et honores; vel, quia in his non est ultimus finis ut in primo ostensum est, magis est decens quod per civilem conversationem aliquis velit acquirere felicitatem sibi ipsi et civibus, ita quod huiusmodi felicitas quam intendit aliquis acquirere per politicam vitam sit altera ab ipsa politica vita; sic enim per vitam politicam quaerimus eam quasi alteram existentem ab ipsa, haec est enim felicitas speculativa ad quam tota vita politica videtur ordinata, dum per pacem, quae per ordinationem vitae politicae statuitur et conservatur, datur hominibus facultas contemplandi veritatem.
2101. Second, it is obvious that there is no place for leisure in political activities. But a man wants something besides mere participation in politics, like positions of power and honor. And, since these objectives do not constitute the ultimate end, as was pointed out in book 1 [60–72], it is rather fitting thatm, by means of politics, a person should wish to obtain happiness for himself and everyone else. Happiness of this kind sought in political life is distinct from political life itself, and in fact we do seek it as something distinct. This is contemplative happiness, to which the whole of political life seems directed; as long as the arrangement of political life establishes and preserves peace, it gives men the opportunity of contemplating truth.
2102. Si igitur inter omnes actiones virtutum moralium excellunt politicae et bellicae tam pulchritudine, quia sunt maxime honorabiles, quam etiam magnitudine, quia sunt circa maximum bonum, quod est bonum commune, cum huiusmodi operationes non habeant in se ipsis vacationem, sed agantur propter appetitum alterius finis et non sint eligibiles propter se ipsas, non erit in operationibus virtutum moralium perfecta felicitas.
2102. Among the activities of the moral virtues, political and military actions stand out preeminent both in nobility (they are most honorable) and in greatness (they concern the greatest good, which is the common good), and these actions do not themselves possess leisure, but are directed to a further end and are not desirable for their own sakes. Hence, perfect happiness will not be found in the activities of the moral virtues.
2103. Sed operatio intellectus quae est speculativa videtur a praemissis operationibus differre secundum rationem studii, quia scilicet homo vacat huiusmodi operationi propter se ipsam, ita quod nullum alium finem praeter ipsam appetit; habet etiam huiusmodi operatio propriam delectationem ex ipsa procedentem quae auget eam; sic igitur patet quod secundum huiusmodi operationem speculativam intellectus manifeste apparent omnia existere in homine quaecumque solent attribui beato, scilicet quod sit per se sufficiens et quod vacet et quod non laboret, et hoc dico quantum possibile est homini mortalem vitam agenti, in qua vita huiusmodi non possunt perfecte existere.
2103. But the activity of the intellect, which is contemplative, seems to differ from the preceding activities by reason of serious application, since man applies himself to it for its own sake such that he seeks no further end. This activity also contains a proper pleasure proceeding from itself and augmenting it. So, then, such contemplative activity of the intellect clearly provides for man the attributes customarily assigned to the happy person: self-sufficiency, leisureliness, and freedom from labor. And I say this insofar as it is possible for man living a mortal life in which such things cannot exist perfectly.
2014. Sic igitur in contemplatione intellectus consistit perfecta felicitas hominis dummodo adsit diuturnitas vitae, quae quidem requiritur ad bene esse felicitatis secundum quod oportet nihil eorum quae pertinent ad felicitatem esse imperfectum.
2104. Therefore, man’s perfect happiness consists in contemplation of the intellect, if a long span of life be added. This indeed is necessary for the well-being of happiness, as nothing belonging to happiness should be incomplete.
2015. Deinde cum dicit: talis autem utique et cetera, ostendit qualiter huiusmodi vita contemplativa se habeat ad hominem.
2105. Then, at such a life (1177b26), he shows how this contemplative life is associated with man.
Et primo ostendit propositum;
First, he explains his proposition.
secundo excludit errorem, ibi: oportet autem non secundum suadentes et cetera.
Second, at nor ought we (1177b31; ), he rejects an error.
Dicit ergo primo quod talis vita quae vacat contemplationi veritatis est melior quam vita quae est secundum hominem. Cum enim homo sit compositus ex anima et corpore, habens sensitivam naturam et intellectivam, vita homini commensurata videtur consistere in hoc quod homo secundum rationem ordinet affectiones et operationes sensitivas et corporales, sed vacare soli operationi intellectus videtur esse proprium supernarum substantiarum in quibus invenitur sola natura intellectiva quam (homo) participat secundum intellectum.
He says first that the kind of life that has leisure for the contemplation of truth is higher than the human level. Since man is composed of soul and body with a sensitive and intellectual nature, life commensurate to him is thought to consist in that he directs by reason his sensitive and bodily affections and activities. But to engage solely in intellectual activity seems proper to the superior substances possessing only an intellectual nature, in which they participate by their intellect.
2106. Et ideo manifestans quod dictum est subdit quod homo sic vivens, scilicet vacando contemplationi, non vivit secundum quod homo, qui est compositus ex diversis, sed secundum quod aliquid divinum in ipso existit, prout scilicet secundum intellectum divinam similitudinem participat. Et ideo quantum intellectus in sua puritate consideratus differt a composito ex anima et corpore, tantum distat operatio speculativa ab operatione quae fit secundum virtutem moralem, quae proprie est circa humana. Sicut ergo intellectus per comparationem ad hominem est quiddam divinum, ita et vita speculativa, quae est secundum intellectum, comparatur ad vitam moralem sicut divina ad humanam.
2106. For this reason, in explaining his statement, he adds that man living in this manner, occupied in contemplation, does not live as man, composed of diverse elements, but as something divine is present in him, partaking in a likeness to the divine intellect. And, on that account, as the intellect considered in its purity differs from a composite of soul and body, so the contemplative activity differs from the activity following moral virtue, which is properly concerned with human affairs. Therefore, just as the intellect compared to man is something divine, so the contemplative life, which is based upon the intellect, is compared to the life of moral virtue as divine to human life.