Positve Psychology and Aristotle's Virtue Ethics Converge Essay

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Positive psychology and Aristotle: A convergence of ideas The field of positive psychology, founded by Martin Seligman (1998), seeks to influence individuals whose lives are “neutral” and increase their psychological well-being. Positive psychology offers a unique perspective on mental health through focusing on individual strengths rather than dysfunction, pathology, and mental illness (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The goal of positive psychology is to assist individuals in creating meaningful lives through the promotion of positive emotions, individual character strengths, as well as, eudemonic happiness, as key components to optimal mental health. Like many other contemporary theories, positive psychology borrows principles and …show more content…
Contemporary research suggests that eudemonia is a better predictor of life satisfaction than hedonistic pleasure; findings from a study conducted by Huta, Park, Peterson, & Seligman (2005) demonstrate that those who pursue eudemonic goals and activities are more satisfied than those who solely pursue pleasure. (Peterson, 2006) It has been stated “happiness is the aim of life, but virtue is the foundations of happiness” (Thomas Jefferson, 1819). Seligman proposes that the identification and use of positive individual strengths of character, associated with virtue, are important components to achieving eudemonic happiness and in creating and sustaining a meaningful life. Virtues and strengths can serve as defenses during times of adversity, as well as, have the ability to enhance the healthier moments in life. The Values in Action (VIA) classification system contains 24 strengths of character that are sub-categories of six cross-culturally accepted core virtues: Wisdom and knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, as well as, transcendence. The VIA classification was created in order to provide conceptual and empirical means of describing and measuring positive development. (Peterson, 2006; Seligman, 2002) Virtue strengths of wisdom include positive traits such as, perspective,