Unlike Plato, Aristotle questions and concludes that virtue does not suffice happiness. His definition of happiness is the activity of the soul in accordance with the most perfect virtue. He believes one must be active and make full use of his/her rational capacities to function well. This perfecting of ones character was Aristotle?s key to happiness.
The pursuit for happiness has been a quest for man throughout the ages. In his ethics, Aristotle argues that happiness is the only thing that the rational man desires for its own sake, thus, making it good and natural. Although he lists three types of life for man, enjoyment, statesman, and contemplative, it is the philosopher whom is happiest of all due to his understanding and appreciation of reason. Aristotle’s version of happiness is not perceived to include wealth, honor, or trivial
According to Aristotle the ultimate goal to reach is happiness (Fitterer). All of our acts in life have some aim and that aim should be directed towards the end goal, happiness (Aristotle). How do we reach happiness? Aristotle believes that happiness is achieved through developing good virtues and character that leads to doing virtuous acts, which gives our soul pleasure (Wooden, Covey). To understand good ethics and virtues we must learn from teachers, examples, and deep thought. By using intellect, reasoning, and intent these virtuous acts become more easily voluntary (Fitterer). Once these ethics are understood we have the capacity to live a good life and do the right thing in all aspects of life (Wooden, Covey). Good ethics and virtues allow us to make decisions in life with ease (Wooden, Covey). By using these ethics we will not only know what is good but we ourselves will ultimately become good, in turn leading us to happiness. Aristotle discusses some virtues that help us on the path to the ultimate goal of happiness.
In the Philosophical work, Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes claims about happiness being the highest aim and end at which all human activity is directed. He states that happiness is a supreme good, and therefore should be considered the ultimate goal of every action undertaken by an individual. This assertion regarding happiness as a final end, proposes the question, how can a person define and obtain happiness? Aristotle attempts to use his theory of ethics to address this question. His perspective on the supreme good, is that it is a way of life and exhibited in the way we act and that happiness is derived from living a life in accordance with virtues. In this paper I will address Aristotle’s deviance from popular belief regarding what
As Socrates also believed, Aristotle thought that the life of the philosopher was the most pleasant and had the potential to bring the most happiness to oneself. Happiness is a state that is interpreted differently by each person. Aristotle describes happiness as a final end meaning that is not chosen as a means to something else. As health is the goodness, or completeness, of a person’s body, happiness is the goodness of a person’s soul. For that reason, one should not seek happiness in itself, but should seek deserving to be happy. This is the same as one not seeking health, but deserving the health by exercising and eating correctly.
As mentioned before, happiness is a very complex subject matter, for it means something different to each and every person. In Aristotle's opinion, one needs to have realized and lived up to their potentialities in order to be happy. He notes that since human beings have the unique gift of reason, they are required to fully develop this skill in order to be happy. Yet, we must stop a minute and ask ourselves, "Is this too much of a pretentious assertion?" How do we know that our full potential can only be met if we learn to use the gift of reason? Can we ever be sure that knowledge is not simply an inst...
Aristotle is a strong believer that reaching happiness is the ultimate goal of humans. He says, “Another belief which harmonizes with our account is that the happy man
In Aristotle’s novel The Nicomachean Ethics, his main concern is how humans are able to reach eudaimonia where eudaimonia means flourishing, happiness and for the purpose of this paper, the good life. Aristotle holds that happiness is the greatest human good and that people recognize that they need this to live a good life. People are able to come to this understanding but disagreements arise on what happiness truly is. Most people view happiness as being synonymous with pleasure but those who seek pleasure are not living the good life because they tend to go looking for it in the wrong places. Another view of happiness is that it involves honor. Aristotle thinks that
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle lays a foundation of goods and supreme goods. “Every art”, he says, “and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared” (Aristotle, 46). The chief good is that “which we desire for its own sake” (Aristotle, 47). The chief good for humans is happiness, which people equate with many different things. The reason why happiness is the chief good is because it is sufficient in itself. Aristotle says “the general run of men…identify living well and doing well with being happy” (Aristotle 48). For example, it is thought that if one is happy with their job, they are more inclined to do a good job because they are content. As Aristotle continues on he defines the supreme good in yet another way, saying, “…Human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue” (Aristotle, 55). For Aristotle, a rational human being is also a happy and virtuous one as well. Rationality distinguishes humans from animals. At this point, it is suggested that one’s life can only be examined as a whole and not as he or she lives. “One swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day”, says A...
Aristotle insists that our happiness depends on our wants, our desires, using reason to govern our irrational desires. This comes from our inner self, but in order to achieve such state we need to, in essence, act on our political animal that he describes. In book one, Aristotle lays down two provisions that happiness needs to be satisfied. He states happiness must be perfect and that it must be self-sufficient. Not by himself, as he describes as being solitary, but by the means of parents, siblings, spouse,
... activity of the rational part of the soul in accordance with virtue. He believes that the human function is only the one peculiar to us. Aristotle also presents a valid reason for why happiness is the ultimate good. Happiness is choiceworthy in its own right and never because of something else therefore is complete. Lastly, Aristotle claims that a life of study is the best life for all humans, however, there should be a single good which constitutes the aim of each human being. He incorrectly reasons that just because the gods are involved in study, that humans should also take part in such activity. Forgetting all the previous things he said about virtues and habituation, Aristotle claims that only a life of study will bring happiness. While humans should all aim to achieve Aristotle’s view of eudaimonia or happiness, his beliefs of the best life are unrealistic.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist who understood happiness as a common goal shared among all humans, happiness was the achievement of human flourishing something he called ‘eudaimonia’ (Sober, 2009). Eudaimonia translates as the perfect happiness, human excellence and fulfillment, a universal interest to everyone, and a quality of goodness that enables a person to be able to reflect on their life and be happy with it (Brook, 2015, p. 315).
Before we look into specifics, we’ll examine the history and development of “happiness” as a philosophy. Of course, the emotion of happiness has always existed, but it began to be seriously contemplated around 2,500 years ago by philosophers like Confucius, Buddha, Socrates and Aristotle. Shortly after Buddha taught his followers his Noble Eight Fold Path (which we will talk about later), Aristotle was teaching that happiness is “dependent on the individual” (Aristotle).
Saying this is tough because Aristotle is clear that he believes all people seek happiness, i.e., people want to be happy (see bk I.4), but he points out that there are different conceptions of what it entails, e.g., some think it is wealth, others honor, others virtue, etc. Thus, you’ll want to maybe make it clear that Aristotle’s point is only that people seek out their own understanding of happiness, but not necessarily seek out what Aristotle himself thinks happiness actually is. We study it so we have a target and goal. This might be a key to the good life, but not the key. The key is to achieve eudaimonia, and a key component in achieving it would be to study
Aristotle believes that happiness rests within an absolutely final and self-sufficient end. The reasoning behind this theory is that every man is striving for some end, and every action he does must be due to this desire to reach this final end. He believes that in order for a man to be happy, he must live an active life of virtue, for this will in turn bring him closer to the final end. Although some may believe that these actions that the man chooses to take is what creates happiness, Aristotle believes that these actions are just a mere part of the striving toward the final end. I believe that Aristotle’s great-souled man is the highest virtue of character; His actions are never too extreme and he is appropriate in all his manners. The magnanimous person is within the intermediate state of character. “The deficient person is pusillanimous, and the person who goes to excess is vain” (§35). The magnanimous person surrounds himself with great things. The great things occurs when “he receives great honors from excellent pe...