Nicomachean Ethics (c. 340 BCE)

Nicomachean Ethics is a treatise on ethics that examines the question of how men should best live their lives. It is one of the most influential philosophical works ever published, with the height of its influence coming in Europe during the Middle Ages when Thomas Aquinas and others merged key ideas from Nicomachean Ethics into core Christian theology. 

Politics (c. 340 BCE)

Politics can be seen as a companion volume to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, in which he defines a life of good quality and sets about describing how it should be achieved. In Politics he describes the kind of political association that would best facilitate the ends described in Nicomachean Ethics.

But Politics is not subservient to the other work. In it, Aristotle claims that individuals are largely defined by the cities in which they live and that man can be fully rational only by participating in the city. In Ethics, the city is a complete whole, and each individual is a mere part.

Poetics (c. 340 BCE)

In Poetics, Aristotle proposes to discuss poetry, which he defines as a means of mimesis, or imitation, by means of language, rhythm, and harmony. In particular, Aristotle focuses his discussion on tragedy, which uses dramatic, rather than narrative, form, and deals with agents who are better than us. Although Poetics is in a very different category from works Aristotle on topics such as ethics, logic, and physics, it has exercised a great deal of influence on subsequent literary theory, particularly in the Renaissance.