Intellectual Goodness in The Way of Reasons by Aristotle

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Intellectual Goodness in The Way of Reasons by Aristotle In the reading “The Way of Reason” Aristotle tries to define the good that is within mankind. He moves through a variety of exercises that narrow down and simplify the ideas that man is inherently good and that his tendency for it is deliberate and pre-destined. He looks at different activities, then breaks them down and finds the part that leads toward the final happiness. He feels that if man is truly good within his soul that he will be happy. Not necessarily happy as joyful, but, more like content or satisfied. He spends a large amount of time examining different virtues and behaviors and then determines what the outcomes of these activities are. Some examples are behaviors of men that may not link directly to the man himself. Things like bravery and cowardice. He uses fear, rashness, and courage to define what makes a man brave or a coward. It is each of these in varying degrees that create the description of a man’s actions. One with too much courage and rashness becomes foolhardy and takes unnecessary risks. One that might have too much fear and not enough rashness becomes the coward. For Aristotle, finding the mean of these values is what give the best measure of the man. If he has this balance then he is working toward the improvement of a situation without regard to himself. This might also be explained as; if a man has just the right amount of courage, rashness, bravery and fear, he will do what it takes to make things better for his fellow men. But, he does not make any actions that serve to create a better impression of himself to his peers. He does the things to “save the damsel in distress” but isn’t doing it to get approval from other men... ... middle of paper ... ...f an animal such as the chimpanzee can identify a situation and then project an expectation of the outcome, then above that place itself within the situation with a reaction to its outcome, would that refute Aristotle’s claim that animals are not capable of goodness? One can look at these examples and begin to question his beliefs. If the chimpanzee can identify the actions of another then modify its’ behavior to work toward a better situation for its fellow animals, then one should come to the conclusion that this is the same as the man coming to the aid of the damsel. The individual forgoes any benefit to himself and acts only for the benefit of the other. Then ultimately will lead to happiness for all. So Aristotle’s claim isn’t completely without fault, there is a potential for beings other than man to have an innate desire to move toward a general happiness.

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