The Life of Contemplation

In Book 10, Aristotle ultimately concludes that contemplation is the highest human activity. This is largely a consequence of his teleological view of nature, according to which the telos, or goal, of human life is the exercise of our rational powers. In discussing the various intellectual virtues, Aristotle extols wisdom as the highest, since it deals only with unchanging, universal truths and rests on a synthesis of scientific investigation and the intuitive understanding of the first principles of nature. The activity of wisdom is contemplation, so contemplation must be the highest activity of human life.