Essay Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing

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Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing

Aristotle describes three types of life in his search for human flourishing: lives of gratification, politics, and contemplation. He contends that there is a single Idea of Good that all men seek, and he finds that happiness, or eudaimonia, best fits his criteria. Aristotle investigates the human purpose to find how happiness is best achieved, and finds that a life of activity and contemplation satisfies our purpose, achieving the most complete happiness in us. Aristotle is correct regarding the necessity of activity, but restricts the theory to only the life of study. We will reject this restriction, and instead allow any life of virtue and productivity to substitute for Aristotle’s life of study.
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Postulate 1: We have a gut feeling that some desires are not empty and futile.
Granting him this postulate, we allow his conclusion 5. that there are some things we choose for their own sake. This satisfies Idea of Good Claim 1).

Aristotle’s criteria for the Idea of Good are self-sufficiency and completeness. Regarding these criteria he says, “not all ends are complete. But the best good is apparently something complete. And so, if only one end is complete, the good we are looking for will be this end; if more ends than one are complete, it will be the most complete of these ends.” (Irwin 7) Aristotle has not given good reason why there must be only one end from which all actions are a means, rather than several such ends. At this point I will not contend with Aristotle if he can posit this singularity and avoid contradiction further into his theory. Postulate 2: There is only one Idea of Good. Aristotle explores and finds happiness to be the best fit for these criteria of the Idea of Good. We must pause for a moment to clarify the translation of eudaimonia, translated to “happiness” in the text. In Greek, eudaimonia translates to “living well” or “doing well”, “Happiness is the complete end […] [one’s] complete happiness depends on himself, and not on external conditions.” (Irwin 333) Regarding happiness as the single Idea of Good Aristotle says, “Now happiness, more than anything else, seems complete without
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