Abstract

In Nicomachean ethics 10.4, Aristotle argues that when a person takes the proper kind of pleasure in excellent activities, that pleasure perfects the activity. But a condition for that pleasure to arise in the first place, is that the activity is perfect. In other words, pleasure perfects what is perfect. Indeed, Aristotle even states that pleasure taken in an activity will make it most perfect (τελειοτάτη). In Aristotle’s attempt to explain in what way pleasure perfects an already perfect activity, Aristotle provides a simile and a health analogy. I will discuss both, but my main contribution to the debate is the exegesis of the health analogy. I argue that the analogy makes best sense if we understand it as a chiasmus. On the basis of that I suggest that Aristotle is operating with two different notions of perfection.