Aristotle's Theory of the Good Life Essay

Aristotle's Theory of the Good Life Essay

Length: 961 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

According to Aristotle, the good life is the happy life, as he believes happiness is an end in itself. In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle develops a theory of the good life, also known as eudaimonia, for humans. Eudaimonia is perhaps best translated as flourishing or living well and doing well. Therefore, when Aristotle addresses the good life as the happy life, he does not mean that the good life is simply one of feeling happy or amused. Rather, the good life for a person is the active life of functioning well in those ways that are essential and unique to humans. Aristotle invites the fact that if we have happiness, we do not need any other things making it an intrinsic value. In contrast, things such as money or power are extrinsic valuables as they are all means to an end. Usually, opinions vary as to the nature and conditions of happiness. Aristotle argues that although ‘pleasurable amusements’ satisfy his formal criteria for the good, since they are chosen for their own sake and are complete in themselves, nonetheless, they do not make up the good life since, “it would be absurd if our end were amusement, and we laboured and suffered all our lives for the sake of amusing ourselves.”
Happiness can be viewed as wealth, honour, pleasure, or virtue. Aristotle believes that wealth is not happiness, because wealth is just an economic value, but can be used to gain some happiness; wealth is a means to further ends. The good life, according to Aristotle, is an end in itself. Similar to wealth, honour is not happiness because honour emphases on the individuals who honour in comparison to the honouree. Honour is external, but happiness is not. It has to do with how people perceive one another; the good life is intrinsic to the...


... middle of paper ...


...that happiness is not found in amusement for it is too incongruous to end in amusement, and that our efforts and sufferings would be aimed at amusing ourselves. A flourishing life—a happy life, is one that consists of numerous requirements having been fulfilled to some degree. These include those things that preserve and maintain physical welfare such as, a certain level of material wellbeing, health, satisfaction, good familial and friendship bonds, and a comely appearance. Additionally, certain intellectual and moral needs ought to be met as well. It is a well-ordered and just state and community that preserves the freedom to have such a life. Thus, eudaimonia—happiness—for Aristotle is an inclusive notion consisting of life in accordance with intellectual and moral virtues, rational contemplation, and securing certain physical needs, such that one is flourishing.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Aristotle 's Theory Of Logic Essay

- ... His form of syllogism is the only one that is referred to as formal logic. Aristotle argues that every deductive argument could be expressed as a series of syllogistic references. He deserves to be called the father of logic because of the way he organized it and other contribution he made to it. He was the first in history to use the empirical method to study zoology, and went deeper than most philosophers. Aristotle is believed to be the one that pioneered zoology and many people say that the history of biology starts with his zoology....   [tags: Scientific method, Logic, Aristotle, Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1067 words (3 pages)

Aristotle 's Theory Of Ethics Essay

- ... These “identifications” of happiness are not considered to be the highest end of an action. In each of these situations that the masses define as happiness, has a greater good to be achieved, therefore making them not true happiness. Aristotle supports his argument by using the example of honor, he contests that an individual pursues honor, to be recognized and convinced they are good, “people seek to be honored…for excellence” (Nicomachean Ethics, 390). Excellence is of greater value in the process of seeking honor, showing that honor, like wealth, is not the ultimate goal of actions, meaning it cannot be equated to happiness....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue ethics]

Strong Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Aristotle and Plato's Views on Reality

- Aristotle and Plato were both great thinkers but their views on realty were different. Plato viewed realty as taking place in the mind but Aristotle viewed realty is tangible. Even though Aristotle termed reality as concrete, he stated that reality does not make sense or exist until the mind process it. Therefore truth is dependent upon a person’s mind and external factors. According to Aristotle, things are seen as taking course and will eventually come to a stop when potential is reached. The entire process of potential to actuality is call causation....   [tags: Aristotle, Plato, philosophy, ]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Comparison of Aristotle and Thomas Hobbes Essay

- The foremost difference between Aristotle and Hobbes, and in turn classical and modern political philosophies’, with regard to a good life and happiness is that of normative judgments about the good life. While Hobbes rejects normative judgments about the good life and discusses human actions without attributions of moral quality, Aristotle offers the exact opposite. In Ethics, Aristotle differentiates between good and evil actions along with what the best good, or summum bonum, for all humans while Hobbes approach argues that good and bad varies from one individual to another with good being the object of an individuals appetite or desire, and evil being an object of his hate and aversion....   [tags: Aristotle vs Hobbes]

Strong Essays
1039 words (3 pages)

Essay about Aristotle 's Theory Of The Doctrine Of Final Causality

- ... It is not what comes last, but that which is best or highest in the natural motion, change, or growth of a thing. In plainest terms, it is a thing’s ultimate purpose. Building on the previous examples, the final cause would be considered the finished cake, ready for eating, or the final shape of the sculpture or the effect on the audience that admires the statue. Aristotle claims that the fourth cause, the final cause, is the most important because it determines the course of the motions and changes that transpire in things that are by nature....   [tags: Causality, Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics]

Strong Essays
1306 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Aristotle's Philosophy on Purpose

- Aristotle, the last of the great Greek philosophers. He roamed Ancient Greece from 384 BC until his death in 323 BC. In this time, he wrote an enormous amount of works, a variety of books from metaphysics to politics and to poetry. His variety is exceptionally impressive. His greatest known works are the Athenian Constitution and Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle’s works of Ethics explore a vast area of topics. He states, “The goal of the Ethics is to determine how best to achieve happiness.” In order to achieve happiness, one must live a virtuous life, in the mind of Aristotle....   [tags: Aristotle, Philosophy, Purpose, ]

Strong Essays
893 words (2.6 pages)

Slavery in Aristotle's Works Essay example

- Before a serious investigation of any aspect of Aristotle’s political theories is undertaken, we must take a moment to acknowledge that many of the institutions and doctrines he defends have been repudiated in modern political thought. In fact many such institutions are appalling and simply morally wrong. One such institution is slavery. Aristotle argues in the Politics that slavery is just. No argument is needed to conclude that Aristotle made a terrible ethical and moral error in defending slavery....   [tags: Aristotle Philosophy Slavery Essays]

Strong Essays
3305 words (9.4 pages)

Human Function: Aristotle’s Basis for Ethical Value Essay

- Human Function: Aristotle’s Basis for Ethical Value I. Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics Depend on the Human Function Aristotle presents a system of virtue ethics in Nicomachean Ethics. This work presents a prescriptive theory with the aim of showing how humans may reach a proper state of happiness in which the natural human end is fulfilled. This end is regarded as an end in itself to which subordinate ends are related. This master end itself is understood as a type of activity rather than a state that can be achieved with a limited series of actions, and this activity is described as a general practice of acting well in accord with reason....   [tags: Philosophy Aristotle]

Strong Essays
3579 words (10.2 pages)

Essay on Aristotle's Ethics

- Aristotle’s thoughts on ethics conclude that all humans must have a purpose in life in order to be happy. I believe that some of the basics of his ideas still hold true today. This essay points out some of those ideas. It was Aristotle’s belief that everything, including humans, had a telos or goal in life. The end result or goal was said to be happiness or “eudaimonia”. He explained that eudaimonia was different for each person, and that each had a different idea of what it meant. Further, he said that people must do things in moderation, but at the same time do enough....   [tags: Aristotle and the Concept of Telos]

Strong Essays
577 words (1.6 pages)

aristotle Essay examples

- In my opinion the consequences of our actions should play as a reminder in our effort to assess what is ethical behavior and what is not. It can be said as a reminder because, individuals may learn from their actions. The consequences of their actions are either ethical or not. Therefore, every time the individuals look back to their actions, they will remember whether the actions have left them a good result or not. Thus, they will create a habit that may help them to make choices on whether their actions are ethical or not....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
480 words (1.4 pages)