Positve Psychology and Aristotle's Virtue Ethics Converge

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Positive psychology and Aristotle: A convergence of ideas
The field of positive psychology, founded by Martin Seligman (1998), seeks to influence individuals whose lives are “neutral” and increase their psychological well-being. Positive psychology offers a unique perspective on mental health through focusing on individual strengths rather than dysfunction, pathology, and mental illness (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000). The goal of positive psychology is to assist individuals in creating meaningful lives through the promotion of positive emotions, individual character strengths, as well as, eudemonic happiness, as key components to optimal mental health. Like many other contemporary theories, positive psychology borrows principles and tenets of philosophies, which preceded its formal conception. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast virtue, character strengths, relationships, and happiness as presented by positive psychology with Aristotle’s virtue ethics theory.
Positive psychology utilizes five pillars in order to flourish, achieve fulfillment, and satisfaction in life: Positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment (PERMA). The five mainstays of positive psychology are not intended to be means to some other end; these foundations are selected for their own value in personal efforts to flourish, and are fundamental to human well-being. Positive psychology describes the “good life” as being pleasant, engaging, meaningful, and full of achievements and connections. Seligman proposes positive subjective experiences illicit and promote positive emotions. Positive psychology distinguishes two types of happiness that can be derived from experiences and events: Hedonic and eudemonic happines...

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...h the engagement of virtue using the VIA classification system. Limitations of this research pertain to the examination of only specific ideas that may be misinterpreted when taken out of context of the entire theories.

Works Cited

Aristotle (2000) The Nicomachean Ethics (R. Crisp, trans.)Cambridge: Cambridge University
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Kucukuysal, B., & Beyhan, E. (2011). Virtue ethic’s in Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics. International Journal of Human Sciences, 8:2. http://wwwinsanbikmleri.com (web) 2013.
Peterson, P. (2006) A primer in positive psychology. New York: Oxford University Press.
Seligman, M., & Csikszentmihalyi, M. (2000). Positve psychology: An introduction. American Psychologist 55(1), 5-14.
Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.
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