Aristotle's Philosophy on Purpose

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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.

Interest is sparked in this area that Aristotle writes of because there is a natural need for Ethics in human life. John K. Roth states, “Aristotle assumes that all things, human beings included, have a good, a purpose or end, which it is their nature to fulfill”. This helps one understand Aristotle’s way of thinking, and provides insight to the basis of his theories. A common theory explored by Aristotle is the Ethics of Virtues, and how to practice them. A theory included in Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics is the unity of all the virtues, and in order to be virtuous, one must exhibit all the virtues. One of these virtues being practical wisdom, or Phronesis.

The role of practical wisdom is to be able to pre-determine which action will ensure Eudaimonia or happiness in different situations. In the words of Aristotle he explains, “Virtue makes the goal right, practical wisdom the things leading to it”. It is important to exhibit the virtue of practical wisdom because one must have the skill to make conscientious decisions, to benefit one. To practice practical wisdom, one must obtain two kinds of virtues, intellectual and moral. In conclusion, practical...

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...ues of intellect and morality, this is possible, as they work together to create one conclusive result. Aristotle portrays many theories in his lectures and proposes many thought provoking ideas. Among these, his theory of practical wisdom. But, through all of the intricate connections, practical wisdom is the most valued and purposeful virtue, in Aristotelian Ethics.

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, c. 350 B.C. Book I: Translated by W.D. Ross

Roth, John, et al. Ethics: Volume Two. California: Salem Press, Inc., 1994.Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, c. 350 B.C. Book VIII: Translated by W.D. Ross

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, c. 350 B.C. Book VI: Translated by W.D. Ross

Kraut, Richard. Aristotle`s Ethics. Stanford Online Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Tue. July 17 2007. Retrieved Nov 22 2009

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