Essay on Nicomachean Ethics

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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
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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