Perspectives on Happiness From Famous Philosophists
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Happiness is not easy to define. A good life has one characteristic – happiness. Happiness can be defined as pleasure, joy, contentment and satisfaction. Understandings of how to be happy were changing throughout the history. Aristotle who lived in 4th century BC in Athens and Schopenhauer who is19th century philosopher from Germany have contrasting understanding of happiness. In this essay I will argue that Aristotle and Schopenhauer provide accounts of happiness that are useful to contemporary society. The reason for this is that happiness is universal and people’s ways to achieve it did not changed tremendously over times.
Aristotle’s word “eudaimonia” is translated into English as ‘happiness’. “Eudaimonia” notion belonged to theory of virtue. Understanding of this theory will lead to get a better grasp of what he meant when he used the word “eudaimonia”. Aristotle in his “Nicomachean Ethics” believed that happiness is not a goal, but goes with certain activities. He uses example of eating. When a person eats not enough, the person is not satisfied. When a person eats too much, then he or she cannot enjoy the taste, but only need for sleep and need for idleness. So when the person eats just enough that is the virtuous action. The better example might be the attitude one. The person who is virtuous is neither a coward nor rash, but is courageous. He believes that if people choose this way of living, it will lead them to happiness. Also Aristotle took into account the realities of life. He believed that there is no such thing as one correct way of living. He thought that it is personal. He suggested experimenting and that making mistakes would help to find a virtuous activity. So “eudaimononia” has a meaning of “flouri...
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