Through books one to three in Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle distinguishes between pain and happiness, clarifying the endless war that men face in the path of these two extremes. Man’s quest for pleasure is considered by the self-conscious and rational Aristotle; a viewpoint traditionally refuted in contemporary, secular environments.
Immediately, Aristotle alleges that all actions aim for good, thus proposing that all human activity is to be of some good. These activities attempt to meet a greater end; a chief good met by subordinate desires. However, Aristotle introduces that the nature of good is presumed by convention, not nature, and are administered by politics. Governments determine which sciences and arts are studied, who studies …show more content…
Therefore, Aristotle concludes that happiness is self-sufficient. It is what makes life desirable and good; the ending of the action.
Further, to understand what is good, we need to understand the function of man, for good is found in the function. It cannot be life, since life is a shared trait with animals. The human good is to do excellent in one’s function, rather than just executing that function, “For the function of a lyre-player is to play the lyre, and that of a good lyre player is to do well” (371). Since excellence is displayed in function, the human good only exists when the soul is conformed to excellence. This excellence must be shown in activity rather than state, since the latter does not achieve results. Aristotle then describes a classical belief that those who are noble have a pleasant life, since all things noble are naturally pleasant. Thus, happiness is the best, noblest and most pleasant thing, aided by the existence of external pleasures.
Aristotle distinguishes two kinds of excellence: intellectual and moral. Intellectual excellence is learned through teaching, building experience with time, whereas moral excellence comes from habit. He also recognizes that man is naturally premoral for moral habits do not naturally exist. We learn by constant repetition, building habits which reflect our moral extremes, good or bad. Thus, nature makes us programmable; habits which a man forms in his youth shape his character; to be
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Although, as Aristotle believes, everything we do in our life leads to some good, he makes it clear that some goods are subordinate to others, and that the greatest good is happiness. He believes that the knowledge of this good carries weight for our way of life, and makes us better able, like archers who have a target to aim at, to hit the right mark (Aristotle 2). To possess the ability to achieve this ultimate end; however, we must first have some sort of understanding as to what happiness is. The definition of happiness typically varies from person to person, some think it’s pleasure or something found in someone you love, others believe it lies in wealth and success, but Aristotle defines it as
To begin, one must learn what happiness means to Aristotle. He considers happiness to be simply the name of the good life. This is not to say that the good life produces
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’s Nicomachean Ethics, at an absolute basic sense, aims at the title of this course: the good life. In an age where philosophy and ethics were not largely developed, Aristotle aims to provide a universal standard for human flourishing and happiness, or the good life. His main argument is that all of our actions and goals are aiming towards human flourishment, but that each action falls into a range of virtues, where excess is one extreme and deficiency is the other extreme. The virtue that we all strive for, he states, is in the middle of these. For example, temperance is a universal human virtue, with pleasures and pains as the excess and deficiency. He states that virtues can be developed and learned over time and through practice,
Aristotle believes that happiness is an activity “in accord with virtue.” Happiness is in accord with the most excellent virtue. All men agreed that happiness is to “live well”, but Aristotle expands this further into a whole
Aristotle lists honor, pleasure, and wealth as the things believed to make humans happy. He believed that because honor could be easily taken away it was superficial and that pleasure, although enjoyable, was merely an “animal like quality”. Wealth was described as a vehicle to achieve greater status. The moderation of the three vices could be achieved but would not, in-itself produce or guarantee eudaimonia. Instead, Aristotle was of the opinion that wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice, would better lead person to happiness.
Aristotle is an ancient Greek philosopher who has played a part in subjects such as mathematics and ethics. As a known student of Plato, Aristotle’s knowledge on various topics immensely affected people’s philosophical views. For Aristotle, his definitions of human happiness and a good life consist of being virtuous all throughout life. Happiness comes from being an overall good person; this is “the best way to lead a life and give it meaning” (Psychology Today). According to Aristotle, happiness is a continuing achievement. “Happiness is more a question of behavior and of habit—of ‘virtue’—than of luck; a person who cultivates such behaviors and habits is able to bear his
The definition of happiness has long been disputed. According to Aristotle, happiness is the highest good and the ultimate end goal—for it is self-reliant. This idea contradicted other common beliefs and philosophical theories. Aristotle opens his work by describing the various theories, neutrally examines each idea, and discloses how he thinks the theory is wrong and why his idea of happiness is more accurate.
Aristotle may have been a friend and student of Plato, but that doesn't mean he agreed with Plato's ideas on morality. Like many philosophers in Ancient Greece, Aristotle did not buy into the idea of inherently bad behaviors. A behavior cannot be one hundred percent good or evil, but a person can have good or bad traits that define their character. Aristotle said that all people are have a combination of vice and virtue within them. He uses this concept to explain his thesis in Nicomachean Ethics, that virtue is a disposition concerned with choice. However, this thesis cannot truly be understood without a deep understanding of a disposition.
In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle explores virtues as necessary conditions for being happy. A virtuous person is a person with a disposition toward virtuous actions and who derives pleasure from behaving virtuously. Aristotle distinguishes between two types of human virtue: virtues of thought and virtues of character. Virtues of thought are acquired through learning and include virtues like wisdom and prudence; virtues of character include bravery and charity, which are acquired by habituation and require external goods to develop. As a consequence, not all people can acquire virtues of character because not all people have the external goods and resources required to develop that disposition.
There are many theories surrounding happiness, and the pursuit of happiness. Some believe that an external force must be present to bring about happiness, while others argue that happiness is individualized, and is completely up to a person's internal mindset of whether he or she is able to achieve and maintain happiness. Aristotle, a significant ancient Greek philosopher, believes that happiness requires an action. He affirms that there are many factors that play into someone's happiness; including materialistic things, which help support this state of being. His claim is that happiness is a holistic approach to life and must be achieved by living virtuously with moral character. Aristotle also indicates that happiness is not a moment in time, but rather a journey of exploration by way of living harmoniously, through a pursuit of achieving life’s goals and desires. He adds that a life of happiness is driven by virtue and emotions, which all play a role in achieving optimum happiness.
From the beginning of their evolution, human beings have been searching for the meaning of happiness. While many may see this to be an inconsequential question, others have devoted entire lives to the search for happiness. One such person who devoted a great deal of thought to the question of man's happiness was the famous ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle. In his book The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle discussed the meaning of happiness and what it meant to live a good life. He asserted that the devise which has been invented to create what is good for man is called "politics;" and it "uses the rest of the sciences"¦so that this end must be the good for man." (Aristotle, I, ii) Aristotle also identified four general means by which people live their lives in order to gain happiness, but stated that only one was a means by which a person could actually attain it. According to Aristotle, it was not political power, wealth, or worldly pleasures by which a person could achieve real happiness, it was living a contemplative life.
Aristotle begins his exploration into the most outstanding life by attempting to figure what the highest possible good achievable is for human beings. He comes to the conclusion that most people will agree that happiness is the most sought after good. Happiness is self-sufficient and is the complete end of things pursued. However, they cannot seem to agree how to achieve happiness and what happiness is. In order to figure out what happiness is, Aristotle must evaluate the true function of human beings. This true function, as seen by Aristotle, is the key to achieving happiness. Aristotle describes happiness by saying:
Now we move on to a more pressing question: how do you attain happiness? Aristotle holds that “perhaps we shall find the best good (happiness) if we first find the function of a human being” (1.7.1097b24). He explains that as trades-people have functions so must human beings have function. This function must also set humans apart form the vegetable and animal kingdoms in order to be a truly human function. “The remaining possibility, then, is some sort of life or action of the [part of the soul] that has reason”(1.7.1098a3).
He is honored to be author of ‘The Nicomachean Ethics,’ which was in fact the 1st book ever written on the subject of ethics. The book is greatly influential, even in modern times. By an analysis of Aristotle’s literature, it can be observed that he primarily focused on preaching to be ‘virtuous’ rather than focusing on the theories of what ‘virtue’ is. According to him, in whatever way we choose to act, some action that is focused on achieving the desired end result or ‘good’ results comes from that person’s own perspective. Aristotle claimed that the maximum good which a person have desire to achieve is basically an end-point itself , a person’s action or struggles is for achieving that ‘end-point’, it may be regarded as a point of maximum satisfaction. Aristotle critically concluded that the happiness of a person satisfies these conditions completely, and hence the highest attainable good is regarded as happiness.