Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 18, 2023
December 11, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
A question of high importance in any investigation of ethics is how we can teach people to be good. Aristotle is quite clear that he does not think virtue can be taught in a classroom or by means of argument. Nicomachean Ethics, then, is not designed to make people good, but rather to explain what is good, why it is good, and how we might set about building societies and institutions that might inculcate this goodness.
According to Aristotle, virtue is something learned through constant practice that begins at a young age. We might understand his outlook better if we recognize the meaning of the word arete, which is rendered as “virtue” in most English translations. This term more generally means “excellence,” so a good horseman can exhibit arete in horsemanship without necessarily implying any sort of moral worth in the horseman. It should be obvious to anyone that excellence in horsemanship cannot be learned simply by reading about horsemanship and hearing reasoned arguments for how best to handle a horse. Becoming a good horseman requires steady practice: one learns to handle a horse by spending a lot of time riding horses.
For Aristotle, there is no essential distinction between the kind of excellence that marks a good horseman and the kind of excellence that marks a good person generally. Both kinds of excellence require practice first and theoretical study second, so the teaching of virtue can be only of secondary importance after the actual practice of it.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Nicomachean Ethics!