Essay about Aristotle's Ethics

593 Words 3 Pages
Aristotle’s thoughts on ethics conclude that all humans must have a purpose in life in order to be happy. I believe that some of the basics of his ideas still hold true today. This essay points out some of those ideas.

It was Aristotle’s belief that everything, including humans, had a telos or goal in life. The end result or goal was said to be happiness or “eudaimonia”. He explained that eudaimonia was different for each person, and that each had a different idea of what it meant. Further, he said that people must do things in moderation, but at the same time do enough. The theory, of “the golden mean of moderation” was the basis to Aristotle's idea of the human telos and concluded that living a virtuous life must be the same for all
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He said was also important to understand the acts performed towards virtue, because it directly related to the character of the resulting morals. Aristotle felt that fear and pain influenced ethics, as people would avoid that which he/she was scared of and/or that would cause pain. He believe friendships to be vital in order to be a good person, and that it required “reciprocal and explicit goodwill”. Aristotle taught that friendships were uncommon, but could be achieved requiring time to build familiarity and trust. He claimed that this perfect virtue must be achieved and maintained for the lifetime.

Aristotle lists honor, pleasure, and wealth as the things believed to make humans happy. He believed that because honor could be easily taken away it was superficial and that pleasure, although enjoyable, was merely an “animal like quality”. Wealth was described as a vehicle to achieve greater status. The moderation of the three vices could be achieved but would not, in-itself produce or guarantee eudaimonia. Instead, Aristotle was of the opinion that wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice, would better lead person to happiness.

As one reads though the translations of Aristotle’s thoughts, you begin to realize the complexity, yet the common sense of his work. Modern day people have a goal in life, to achieve a certain amount of success and to live life relatively happy. Most agree that to get to that goal, the populous must conform and participate
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