Happiness in Nicomachean Ethics and Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today

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Essay written by Elizabeth Sippel From pursuing pleasure to avoiding pain, life seems to ultimately be about achieving happiness. However, how to define and obtain happiness has and continues to be a widely debated issue. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives his view on happiness. According to Aristotle, different types of people pursue different ends. “The many,” or ordinary people, pursue pleasure, whereas politicians seek glory. However, people of superior refinement seek happiness. Happiness is the highest goal because it is an end desired entirely for its own sake, and it is selfsufficient. In order to define happiness, the function of man must be considered. Aristotle says that what makes man unique is his ability to reason. Thus reason must be connected to happiness in some way. Aristotle further argues that virtue is also tied to happiness. Virtue can be categorized as either intellectual or moral. Intellectual virtue, as the name suggests, corresponds to the reasoning self. Moral virtue, on the other hand, corresponds to the desiring self. Thus moral vi...

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