John Stewart Mill and Aristotle on Happiness

647 WordsFeb 26, 20183 Pages
The idea of happiness and the flourishing of man have been the foundations to modern philosophical thought. Aristotle and John Stuart Mill aimed to explain the origin to happiness, and their respective conclusions also resulted in the definition of morality; these conclusions also affected their view of women. Aristotle believed that it was the function of women to remain subservient to men so that man (the citizen) could flourish and provide the good life for the Polis, whereas Mill denotes that equality between men and women produces happiness, and happiness, he argues, leads to pleasure, maintaining human flourishing. To Aristotle, flourishing is a function of happiness; it is human, human seek the greatest good, and that search to acquire any good is itself the process of flourishing. Flourishing is a group effort, according to Aristotle: when the Polis is happy, the people are happy. Women play a supporting role in the Polis, and Aristotle noted that their function in the process of flourishing is second to man. Mill conversely believed that though flourishing is uniquely human, humans seek pleasure, and it is the result of that search, not the simultaneous action, that produces flourishing. The idea of flourishing also pertains more closely to the individual level, as Mill saw it, for pleasure is an intimate idea, and unique to the individual. After finding pleasure, and with personal happiness, then society too will flourish. For Mill, women were equal to men because
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