Happiness Is an Activity Essay

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In this paper I will discuss Aristotle’s claim that happiness is a kind of activity and not a momentary pleasure. Some people might worry that Aristotle is wrong in making this claim by presuming that happiness is a state of mind rather than a constant pursuit in which a person must actively strive for throughout the entirety of ones life. I will argue that Aristotle is correct when he declares that happiness is a kind of activity that we strive for and ultimately attain throughout the entirety of our lives rather than just a feeling or state that we happen to have at any given moment. First I will explain Aristotle’s view on happiness and then I will offer some objections to Aristotle’s claim that happiness is an activity. Finally, I will…show more content…
It is the end that is pursued for the sake of itself that is the highest good. Aristotle explains, “Now happiness more than anything else seems complete without qualification, since we always <choose it, and also> choose it because of itself, never because of something else.” (Nicomachean Ethics 1097b 1-4). Here Aristotle shows us that the happiness that a person who lives a meaningful and excellent life possesses is a happiness that is much more than a momentary pleasure that is found and lost in a small amount of time. Aristotle explains that happiness is self-sufficient and is something that is continuously sought after in practice. He explains that in order for us to understand ultimate happiness, we must, “first find the function of a human being” (Nicomachean Ethics 1097b 25-26). The function of a human being, according to Aristotle, differs from every other natural organism that resides on Earth. We are unique in our ability to understand and reason (Nichomachean Ethics 1098b 8-9). Because we are capable of reasoning, we are able to learn from our mistakes and actively seek virtue based on our ability to understand the consequences of our actions. Children and animals differ in this respect because they are not capable of making rational decisions. Aristotle uses the example of the harpist to show that the function of the harpist is to play the harp and the function of the good harpist is to do it well. (Nicomachean Ethics1097b 8-12). Aristotle
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