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Ethics

Aristotle

Summary and Analysis Book I: Chapter XI - The Relation between the Dead and the Living in Regard to Happiness

Summary

The question also arises, are the dead affected by the fortunes of their descendants or friends? We know two things to be true in this connection; (a) that the misfortunes of our friends can sometimes affect or influence us or sometimes appear trifling, (b) that it makes a great difference in our reaction whether misfortune befalls men before or after their deaths. Thus, it can be inferred that if the dead retain any sense of good and evil, it is so weak that it does not have the force or quality to make the unhappy happy or the happy unhappy.