What We Don 't Talk About Service

1324 Words Oct 10th, 2015 6 Pages
As one of the fundamental texts in the discussion of ethics, Nicomachean Ethics outlines Aristotle’s idea of eudaimonia, as the ultimate goal of a good and successful human life, achieved through habitual practices of moral virtues. Unlike a contemporary understanding of happiness (a type of feeling), happiness to the Greeks was an “activity of soul” - a reflection of a person’s position in the community and mindfully acting to live in a good way (happiness as an action). In “What We Don’t Talk About When We Don’t Talk About Service,” Adam Davis discusses a modern application of these “good” actions using the topic of service. Similar to Aristotle’s concern of the motivations behind human happiness and striving to reach a state of excellence, Davis is concerned with the types of motivations behind voluntary actions of service that contribute to what is considered serving in good and moral ways. In fact, Davis brings up a clear issue that that there are inherent complexities surrounding service that hinder what should be considered its main purpose: to help others. Aristotle’s guidelines on living a virtuous life, however, elucidate potential solutions to the problems of service presented by Davis and reinforce Davis’ ideas for the necessity of service reflection. Aristotle believes that happiness is the highest good, one that is “desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else,” and believes that it is the telos or goal of human action. He is interested in how…
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