Aristotle and David Hume share very clashing views on morality. Aristotle and Hume both believe in the possibility of being a virtuous person and both emphasize importance when it comes to reason, but their respective definitions of what virtue and reason actually mean differ drastically. Aristotle believes all human actions aim at some good, while Hume believes the reason behind everything is arithmetic and that human passions rule over reason. There is one supreme good according to Aristotle, but Hume believes what is good and bad all depends on perception. Both Aristotle and Hume take on the same topics in regards to morality, but take very different approaches.
Aristotle believes all actions aim at some good, but humans are all in seek of a supreme good, which is happiness. Moral judgement according to Aristotle all depends on the choices that a person decides to make. Humans judge one another based off how good they are at their respective field of expertise, for example, a singer is judged by voice, melody, and songs produced. Aristotle believes expertise in a certain field is just an addition to a human’s real function. Aristotle states “the function of man then is activity of soul in accordance with reason, or not apart from reason” , Aristotle does not see being good at certain things in a bad light, but he believes expertise is just a small part of what it takes to live a complete life. To live the complete life that Aristotle constantly emphasizes, one must make the correct decision in certain situations. Decision making is the most difficult of things to do correctly because finding the mean in anything is nearly impossible. All human actions aim at some good and hopefully result in happiness, bu...
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...ly have no purpose and mankind is essentially a useless group of organisms wandering the planet fulfilling their pleasures and desires.
Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics can be seen as a response to David Hume’s insistence that morality is based on sentiment even though Aristotle was around about two thousand years before Hume. If Aristotle was given the challenge to debate morality with any philosopher, Hume would be Aristotle’s worst match-up due to the fact that Hume is one of the most unique philosophers ever and one of the first to make the argument that arithmetic is the reason behind everything and morality is based on perception, opposed to most philosophers who revolve their philosophic arguments around human nature.
Scalet, Steven, and John Arthur, comps. Morality and Moral Controversies. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2012.
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