Next, I plan to identify Aristotle’s core values for happiness. According to Aristotle, happiness comes from virtue, whereas Mill believes happiness comes from pleasure and the absence of pain. Ethics are the moral principles that govern a person’s behavior which are driven by virtues - good traits of character. Thus, Aristotle focuses on three things, which I will outline in order to answer the question, “what does it mean to live a good life?” The first of which is the number one good in life is happiness. Secondly, there is a difference between moral virtues and intellectual virtues and lastly, leading a good life is a state of character.
Aristotle develops his virtue ethics by first considering ends and goods. He claims that “every action and decision, seems to seek some good” (Shafer-Landau 2013, 615). Aristotle states that we pursue certain things because of the benefits it brings itself and other consequences it may bring. Aristotle suggests that this is the same for goodness. We must pursue what is good for good itself and for any other benefits it may bring.
When we follow this guide of choices can a series of good choices change a vicious character? Aristotle states that the human function is the life activity of the part of the soul that has reason and I will try to explain those reasons. This is the key part of Aristotle’s teachings, being able to take your pleasures and recognition and reflect and glean from them. The magnanimous person is very complex and displays the proper virtues at the proper time, in a proper way. This means you are genuinely inclined to act virtuously for the appropriate reasons.
This paper will demonstrate how Aristotle thought that the life of moral virtue is part of the best human life and how he is incorrect in his account. I will do so by, first outlining what Aristotle defines as the life of moral virtue, next I will describe what he thinks to be the best human life, then I will prove how Aristotle does think that the life of moral virtue fits with the best human life and I will conclude by establishing why Aristotle's premise is incorrect. Aristotle's theory of moral virtue is that one's main purpose in life is to reach eudaimonia, the state of being happy. Eudaimonia is a position of being that includes fulfilment and success. To reach eudaimonia, one must be able to function correctly in the way that they think and act collectively with their sense of reason and their own natural understanding of moral virtues.
Aristotle believes when you do something it comes from the virtues you have, while Kant believes there is always a reason behind actions. However, both agree “that time and practice is required to develop virtues” (betzler 50). Another thing they have in common is that both of them focused on peoples actions and why people performed those actions. Whether, it is happiness or good will we are all completing an action to the end; in order to have a good life. Aristotle’s Strength is his belief in moderation (Book480).
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”.
The imperative in this case refers to a command. Principally, Kant argued that immorality involved the violation of the Categorical Imperative, hence it was deemed irrational. By analyzing Johnson’s article Kant’s Moral Philosophy, one can deduce that Kant was in agreement with his predecessors on the fact that practical reason analysis only reveals the prerequisite that rational agents must conform to instrumental principles. Nevertheless he argues that the rational agency should be shaped in accordance with the CI and hence would achieve the moral requirements themselves. Kant argued that the rational will is always autonomous; hence, he states that the morality principle is a law of autonomous will.
Aristotle makes this connection with "The moral virtues must belong to our composite nature and the virtues of our composite nature are human; so, therefore, are the life and the happiness which correspond to these" (Nicomachean Ethics). Through these learned moral virtues, we can determine how to act in agreement with them. The Golden Mean test says that many virtues are located on a continuum, their perfection consisting in the fact that they avoid the extremes (Sober 373). Hence, moral virtues are what allow us to evade having an "excess or deficiency" in a particular virtue such as the case when "the brave man appears rash relatively to the coward, and cowardly relatively to the rash man" (Nicomachean Ethics). However, to Aristotle, moral virtues existing in the middle of this continuum was optimal for an individual.
This doctrine claimed that having the right amount of a characteristic would be virtuous and most often is in between having too much or too little of ... ... middle of paper ... ...n, remember that there are two types of virtues, moral and intellectual. The moral virtue as it relates to virtue in general must be an excellent making characteristic. That is, someone who is morally virtuous will be able to perform moral duties well. This illustrates how Aristotle is able to bring the notion of arête to apply to moral virtue. For Aristotle the doctrine of the mean is a way to categorize (one of his favorite activities) moral virtue; however, there are some exceptions, as Aristotle noted, leaving a gap that must be filled.
The meaning of eudaimonia, etymologically, is ‘good spirit’ and it is generally translated as ‘happiness’; in Aristotelian terms, ‘happiness’ represents the highest human good and it is also the representation of the soul’s virtues. The identification of the soul parts as the contributors and main elements for the function of the most important human activity (reasoning), marks the inevitable psychological asset of Aristotle’s thinking; specifically, the classification of human virtues derives from the analysis of the soul’s types, attributing to human beings the ability of reasoning which distinguishes human beings from the rest of ‘natural bodies.’ Indeed, reason exists in two parts of the soul, namely the rational and the appetitive (desires or passions), and so it expresses within two different virtues, the moral and intellectual ones. Moral virtues satisfy the impulses of the appetitive part and the intellectual virtues hav... ... middle of paper ... ...tp://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html. Kraut, R., (2014). Aristotle’s Ethics.