preview

Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle

Better Essays
Many believe the two are interchangeable when speaking about morals and ethics, when the two in no way mean the same thing. Morals are subjective beliefs that belong to an individual, they are one’s own beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong. Ethics on the other hand are the rules that society creates and teaches regarding proper and improper, right and wrong, social behavior. Morals are internal, ethics are external, and they have been the unwritten rules of society as old as mankind, which govern proper social conduct based on the greater good of the popular belief. Philosophers have tussled over the nature of the concepts of morality and virtue, where they stem from as well as their true meanings.
Some philosophers believe that our moral and ethical beliefs stem from what we are taught by society based on rational acceptance of proper decisions, whereas others oppose saying that our morals and ethical beliefs belong to our soul alone and it is learned from within, rather than being taught by one’s society.
One of Aristotle’s most influential works, Nicomachean Ethics, lays claim that there is an actual, material definition of what happiness is and ways one may possibly attain the greatest good in life, which is ultimately to be happy. Furthermore, Aristotle distinguishes that there is a difference between higher and lower pleasures that one ought to seek in life. He believed that the highest good one has the possibility of achieving is grasping true virtue. In Aristotle’s eyes, there are different types of virtue; intellectual virtue is learned from the teachings of society, whereas moral virtue is discovered as result of our habits.
Aristotle taught that virtue was the perfect balance of weight between the good and th...

... middle of paper ...

...d, different cultures live completely separate lives and each society is not the same as the next. Different lifestyles would mean that there are different cultural views and norms depending what type of society you live in when building your moral standards. Furthermore I believe that there is a distinguishable line between right and wrong and a rational being need not the rules of society to help govern decisions, but it is necessary for society to have standards of morals and ethics so that one’s actions can ultimately be justifiable.

Works Cited
Aristotle. Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. New York: Peripatetic, 1984. Print.
Ayer, Alfred J. "Critique of ethics and theology." Essays on Moral Realism (1988).
Ayer, AJ. Language, Logic, and Truth. New York: Dover, 1952, 102-113.
Kant, Immanuel. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Yale University Press, 2002.
Get Access