A common Nicomachean ethics research paper may begin like this: Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is the seminal work of the great philosopher in attempting to understand ethics and answer the question of how a man should live. Aristotle was the third and last of the three greatest Greek philosophers, following Socrates and Plato, both of whom had also explored the same question.
The Nicomachean Ethics is divided into ten books. The first book explores the question of good as end. According to Aristotle, every action or pursuit aims at achieving something good. From there, he explores questions of virtue and arrives at the idea that happiness is a prized good, that happiness is a virtue and that an individual’s happiness depends upon the happiness of others. Book two defines two types of virtue, intellectual and moral and virtue then becomes part of one’s character. In Book three, Aristotle maintains that virtue is a choice for men and goes on to define five types of courage. By Book four, Aristotle maintains that virtuous men will give, financially, to worthy people and causes. Book five attempts to explore under what part of virtue justice falls, defines the just and unjust, discovering that what is equitable is both just and better than other types of justice.
Book six of the Nicomachean Ethics explores ideas of knowledge, and defines wisdom as a higher form. By Book seven, Aristotle has returned to themes of moral states, and lists three types to be avoided. But by Book eight, the idea of friendship has been introduced. Book nine continues the idea of friendship, defining goodwill and love. Finally, in Book ten does Aristotle delve into questions of pleasure.