Comparison of Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes Essay

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The foremost difference between Aristotle and Hobbes, and in turn classical and modern political philosophies’, with regard to a good life and happiness is that of normative judgments about the good life. While Hobbes rejects normative judgments about the good life and discusses human actions without attributions of moral quality, Aristotle offers the exact opposite. In Ethics, Aristotle differentiates between good and evil actions along with what the best good, or summum bonum, for all humans while Hobbes approach argues that good and bad varies from one individual to another with good being the object of an individuals appetite or desire, and evil being an object of his hate and aversion. In addition, Aristotle makes it clear that…show more content…
Accordingly, whatever the excellent person finds pleasurable, should be considered the standard for judging individuals moral quality, as stated in the following passage: In fact, however, the pleasures differ quite a lot, in human beings at any rate. For some things delight some people, and cause pain to others; and while some find them painful and hateful, others find them pleasant and lovable…But in all such cases it seems that what is really so is what appears so to the excellent person. If this is right, as it seems to be, and virtue, i.e., the good person insofar as he is good, is the measure of each thing, then what appear pleasures to him will also really be pleasures…and if what he finds objectionable appears pleasant to someone, that is not at all surprising: for human beings suffer many sorts of corruption and damage. It is not pleasant, however, except to those people in these conditions. The previous passage shows then that the appetites or desires of corrupted people should not be taken into account while discussing the moral quality of an individuals’ actions. Aristotle’s definition of mean, which is having certain feelings “at the right times, about the right things, towards the right people, for the right end, and in the right way”, clearly states that there is only one right answer to any moral dilemma faced by an
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