Aristotle 's Views On Happiness

1509 WordsApr 9, 20177 Pages
This paper will focus on Aristotle’s claim that happiness is an activity and not just a momentary pleasure. Skeptics claim happiness is a state of mind and Aristotle is wrong to claim that happiness is an ongoing pursuit a person must actively strive for during one’s life. This paper argues that Aristotle is correct when he states that happiness is an activity, the central purpose of human life and a goal in itself that individuals strive for throughout the entirety of their lifetime and ultimately attain rather than a feeling a person experiences at any given moment. First, Aristotle’s view of happiness will be explained and then I will present objections to Aristotle’s claim that happiness is an activity. Lastly, I will address the…show more content…
Aristotle’s belief is that the happiness a person experiences by living an excellent and meaningful life is much more than temporary pleasure that is found and lost in a short period of time. Aristotle explains happiness as being self-sufficient and is continually sought after in practice. He explains the path to fully understand ultimate happiness is “best done by first ascertaining the proper function of man” (1097b 22-24). The function of man, according to Aristotle, differs from all other natural organism on Earth. Human beings are unique having the ability to understand and reason (1098a 1-5). Because we can reason we are capable of learning from our mistakes and will actively pursue virtue since we understand the consequences of our actions. Aristotle points out that animals and children differ in this respect as they lack the capability of making rational decisions (1100a 1-3). Aristotle uses the example of the harpist, “the proper function of a harpist is to play the harp; the function of the harpist who has high standards is to play it well” (1098a 12-13). Aristotle explains the goal or end for the good harpist is attaining excellence in playing the harp through constant repetition and practice. Individuals who have the ability to reason can follow this example of the harpist and strive for excellence in activities that demonstrate virtue. Similar to the harpist who uses constant reinforcement and endless practice to achieve
Open Document