Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Essay example

1128 Words 5 Pages
In Book 1 of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, he argues that happiness is the best good, and the goal of an individual and of those leading and governing society. Here, happiness is understood as both living well and doing well, rather than the convention sense of happiness as an emotion. According to Aristotle, happiness is achieved though actions involving reason and in accord with virtue, or the best of the virtues of there are more than one. In this paper, I will provide a brief overview of the work and its author, then proceed to provide an overview of the ideas expressed and the argumentation supporting them, before finally performing an analysis and critique of the ideas expressed.
Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), son of a physician to the
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In Book 1, he defines the best and most sought after human good as happiness. After discussing and reinforcing his concept of happiness as the most desired and best good, and the goal of a human life, the discussion segues into an examination of virtue and the rest of the work.
Throughout this Book 1, the discussion digresses multiple times to explore the method by which the topic will be examined. Realising that concepts such as happiness are subjective, he establishes in the third Chapter that the fruits of the discussion will be satisfactory so long as it holds true universally. He also considers in Chapter four whether the discussion should originate from the principles, or from our experiences, and suggests that we should being from things known and immediate to us, which seems to be a logical choice as the discussions as a whole focus on what a man should do in order to act according to virtue in order to become good and attain happiness. In addition, the sixth Chapter is devoted to criticism of the theory of Forms. Since good can exist in so many different ways, but are undoubtedly good, Aristotle argues that there is no common idea governing it. He also denies the existence of separate Forms that are merely mimicked by what we perceive, since a thing and the Thing Itself has the same