Aristotle: The Pursuit of Happiness

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Aristotle and Plato both are both well known for their focus on defining the purpose of being human. To them, humans have a particular characteristic that no other living thing possesses. That characteristic is that humans strive to achieve a level of goodness. Although they agree with each other that there is a highest good one must achieve in order to live a fulfilling life, they have different ideas on what that good is. On Aristotle’s search to find the highest good of a human being, he first asked what the ergon, or task, of being human is. His main focus was mostly on what the purpose or goal of human existence should be. Aristotle said that everyone is trying to reach happiness, whether it is by having money, love, or being honored. However, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, he believes that the good we are trying to reach is one ultimate level of experience and that it is “desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else.” All the other good that we experience throughout our lives is just pushing us toward the one thing that will make us happy in the end. Although we may think of being happy as a state of mind, Aristotle thought of it as how you lived your life. In other words, the happiness will not come and go within a couple of minutes or hours. It is a goal that is reached “at the end of one’s life and is a measurement of how well one has lived up to their full potential as a human being” (Shields). To find where this happiness comes from, Aristotle explored nature through biology. Based off the Stanford Encyclopedia for Philosophy and a website called The Pursuit of Happiness that talks about the history of Aristotle, he knew that what would ultimately make humans happy would have to... ... middle of paper ... ...ristotle/>. Bowen, Tom. "Reading Questions for Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics." Oakton. Oakton Community College, 16 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 May 2014. "Comparison of Plato's and Aristotle's Political Theories." Novel Guide. Novel Guide, n.d. Web. 4 May 2014. . González, Pedro. "Human Nature, Allegory, and Truth in Plato's Republic." The Barry University. The Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, 2013. Web. 3 May 2014. Ross, W.D.. "Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle." The Internet Classics Archive. Web Atomics , 2009. Web. 4 May 2014. . Shields, Christopher. "Aristotle." Stanford University. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 25 Sept. 2008. Web. 3 May 2014. .

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