Aristotle believes that ethics is about doing the things that make one an excellent and ultimately a happy (fulfilled) person. Kant claims that happiness is irrelevant in ethics and that the right thing to do is to determine what our duty is and to act on it. Both of these philosophies pose their flaws, but the question of what should we follow if we have no basis is raised. Although I strongly disagree with both philosophies, Kant’ s philosophy would work the best in an ideal world, while on the other hand, Aristotle’s philosophy wouldn’t work in an ideal or realistic world. Aristotle is a strong believer that reaching happiness is the ultimate goal of humans. He says, “Another belief which harmonizes with our account is that the happy man …show more content…
Kant does not believe reaching happiness is the main goal of life, but instead doing good with a sense of duty is. Kant says, “A good will is good not because of what it effects or accomplishes… it is good only through its willing, i.e., it is good in itself” (Kant, First Section). Kant’s claim is very strong because it doesn’t allow for any adaptations. From this, he creates two imperatives, the hypothetical and the categorical. Following the categorical imperatives is what eventually will make one virtuous because they are universal laws or commands to being …show more content…
Since happiness can be defined differently by anyone, how can we be certain of a true happiness? Another question that can be raised is how many externalities are okay to have to help reach happiness? Even if Aristotle believes externalities shouldn’t be the driving factor to reaching happiness, if no one has a true definition of happiness it would be easier for fortunate people to use the externalities at their disposal to reach happiness. Like already mentioned, the less fortunate will be at a greater disadvantage to reaching happiness. It is very similar to how education works in this country. Those who are of a wealthier family can attend the best schools, have after school programs that help students and sometimes do not have to worry about finding a job once they graduate from college. On the other hand, those who come from a less wealthy family do not have these programs available in their communities; the schools are less funded and have a harder time even getting into college. Is a person from the wealthy family more virtuous than the person from the less wealthy family? Does their wealth affect their virtuous character or how virtuous they can be? These questions are all answers Aristotle’s philosophy cannot answer with a definite response in real-world applications. When looking at it from an ideal world perspective, both communities wouldn’t exist because everyone would be equal, but
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In conclusion, Aristotle’s elucidation of happiness is based on a ground of ethics because happiness to him is coveted for happiness alone. The life of fame and fortune is not the life for Aristotle. Happiness is synonymous for living well. To live well is to live with virtue. Virtue presents humans with identification for morals, and for Aristotle, we choose to have “right” morals. Aristotle defines humans by nature to be dishonored when making a wrong decision. Thus, if one choses to act upon pleasure, like John Stuart Mill states, for happiness, one may choose the wrong means of doing so. Happiness is a choice made rationally among many pickings to reach this state of mind. Happiness should not be a way to “win” in the end but a way to develop a well-behaved, principled reputation.
The philosophers Kant and Aristotle both have their own theories on the source of virtuous action. Aristotle believes that the moral worth of an action lies in the agent's intent whereas Kant believes that if one's will is determined by inclination, neither does that individual have a good will nor does the action have any moral worth. Thus, in order for an action to have moral worth, according to Kant, one's will must be determined by categorical imperatives. Once this condition is satisfied, that person can be said to have a good will and the resulting action can potentially have moral worth. Kant and Aristotle's theories on the source of virtuous actions are highly similar as they both believe that intent is a crucial component of virtuous
Happiness is perhaps the only clear ultimate end. Happiness is what we strive for by itself and not to get anything else. "So it appears that happiness is the ultimate end and completely sufficient by itself. It is the end we seek in all we do.';(Aristotle, 461) Mans' good is related to his purpose; the purpose of a man involves the actions of his soul (the soul being a part of his reasoning). By carrying out the activities of his soul and doing so with proper excellence and virtue, man is able to reach a desirable end.
In chapter seven of Book One, Aristotle is almost vague as he tries and defines what happiness is, and more importantly, why happiness is crucial to the human function, and in fact states that “nor should we demand to know a casual explanation in all matters alike” (1098b). Comparing it to simple truths that are a priori, like when dealing with fundamental principles, he admits that it cannot be defined so easily nor so quickly. He then struggles, in chapter eight, to define happiness. It is, according to him, a kind of “good life and well-being;” virtue precludes action as well as thought. It is also synonymous with virtue: even though virtuous acts are, in general, “not pleasant by nature … men who love what is noble derive pleasure from what is naturally pleasant” (1099a).
Aristotle and Kant have profoundly differing ethical viewpoints, specifically on what exactly defines virtue. Immediately I noticed a profound difference between the somewhat more modern take on ethics that Kant provides as compared to the possibly somewhat antiquated views of Aristotle.
He states “ He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life ” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1101a10). To achieve happiness is to have good moral, or complete virtue. One must not only be virtue, but also act in accordance with virtue. The life of virtue is crucial for happiness. Happiness is the final goal or the end of our life.
...nother reason being would be that Emmanuel Kant told us, moral worth does not depend on the activity of the action, but the true value is located in the principle in which the action is carried out on. Last but never least, Kant believed that a good will is the only object that is really good in itself and which in this case is not a product of anything else. (Good will is the ability to complete actions for sole purpose and duty). All in all there is a great deal more of information that I can ransom about. How Kant is the better philosopher or how Aristotle could have improved, but let’s be honest no one wants to spend hours on end reading this, let’s take a break, let’s relax and your next semester in college take yourselves some philosophy and ethics classes. So that in the future you don’t have to refer to me as your instructor.
Happiness is a goal every human pursues, yet the ways in which it is pursued differs amongst people. Some believe prosperity will bring them happiness. Others believe material, power, fame, success, or love will bring them happiness. No matter what one believes is the right way to conquer this goal, every person will take their own unique path in an attempt to find it. But what is happiness? Happiness is often viewed as a subjective state of mind in which one may say they are happy when they are on vacation with friends, spending time with their family, or having a cold beer on the weekend while basking in the sun. However, Aristotle and the Stoics define happiness much differently. In Aristotle’s
On Aristotle’s search to find the highest good of a human being, he first asked what the ergon, or task, of being human is. His main focus was mostly on what the purpose or goal of human existence should be. Aristotle said that everyone is trying to reach happiness, whether it is by having money, love, or being honored. However, according to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, he believes that the good we are trying to reach is one ultimate level of experience and that it is “desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else.” All the other good that we experience throughout our lives is just pushing us toward the one thing that will make us happy in the end. Although we may think of being happy as a state of mind, Aristotle thought of it as how you lived your life. In other words, the happiness will not come and go within a couple of minutes or hours. It is a goal that is reached “at the end of one’s life and is a measurement of how well one has lived up to their full potential as a human being” (Shields).
His philosophical theory was very simple and he wanted to teach people how to be happy. He stated “In all our activities there is an end, which we seek for its own sake, and everything else is a means to this end…Happiness is this ultimate end. It is the end we seek in all that we do.” What Aristotle means is that everything we do in our daily activities and actions is all leading up to the end result which is happiness. For example, I work and attend school full time and everything that I do is sub goals leading towards being a successful person which causes me to be happy. Aristotle says happiness is also found in our feelings. A personal example is I love my family and it makes me happy having people to care about and to support them. Sub goals on the way, such as making an A in a class or finishing college and getting a degree are self-awarding pleasures that create happiness. Those are a few examples that make me happy and doing well and succeeding is the key to happiness. For happiness to happen in general, people need to have a reason or virtue in our lives. That everyone has their strong suites about themselves and we need to express and share them with others to help others grow as well. What I understand from Aristotle’s theories of happiness is that our feelings and good actions and being able to control them is what makes us
1.) Aristotle begins by claiming that the highest good is happiness (198, 1095a20). In order to achieve this happiness, one must live by acting well. The highest good also needs to be complete within itself, Aristotle claims that, “happiness more than anything else seems complete without qualification, since we always…choose it because of itself, never because of something else (204, 1097b1). Therefore, Aristotle is claiming that we choose things and other virtues for the end goal of happiness. Aristotle goes on to define happiness as a self-sufficient life that actively tries to pursue reason (205, 1098a5). For a human, happiness is the soul pursuing reason and trying to apply this reason in every single facet of life (206, 1098a10). So, a virtuous life must contain happiness, which Aristotle defines as the soul using reason. Next, Aristotle explains that there are certain types of goods and that “the goods of the soul are said to be goods to the fullest extent…” (207, 1098b15). A person who is truly virtuous will live a life that nourishes their soul. Aristotle is saying “that the happy person lives well and does well…the end
Further, Aristotle parallels the highest good with happiness: “As far as its name goes, most people virtually agree [about what the good is] … (and) call it happiness”(1.4.1095a17-19). In order for happiness to fit Aristotle’s definition of the good it must be “unconditionally complete” meaning “choiceworthy in itself”(1.7.1097a34) and “self-sufficient” meaning “lacking nothing”(1.7.1097b15). To be the highest good happiness will need to be the “mos...
Aristotle feels we have a rational capacity and the exercising of this capacity is the perfecting of our natures as human beings. For this reason, pleasure alone cannot establish human happiness, for pleasure is what animals seek and human beings have higher capacities than animals. The goal is to express our desires in ways that are appropriate to our natures as rational animals. Aristotle states that the most important factor in the effort to achieve happiness is to have a good moral character, what he calls complete virtue. In order to achieve the life of complete virtue, we need to make the right choices, and this involves keeping our eye on the future, on the ultimate result we want for our lives as a whole. We will not achieve happiness simply by enjoying the pleasures of the moment. We must live righteous and include behaviors in our life that help us do what is right and avoid what is wrong. It is not enough to think about doing the right thing, or even intend to do the right thing, we have to actually do it. Happiness can occupy the place of the chief good for which humanity should aim. To be an ultimate end, an act must be independent of any outside help in satisfying one’s needs and final, that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else and it must be
Ethics is the good in an individual and should not be confused or interchanged with morality. As morality are the ways that an individual can obtain good by following the laws of one’s society and the commandments of one’s religion. Although there are many great philosophers whom have impacted the world, multiples of them have extremist views about society, and therefore Aristotle is the philosopher whom I consider has a similar perspective of ethics as myself. He discusses how the “good life” comes from happiness and continues to explain to attain the “good life” it must be done as a community. Even though Aristotle is one of the eldest philosophers, his ideas of ethics are still relevant in today’s society.
Happiness can be viewed as wealth, honour, pleasure, or virtue. Aristotle believes that wealth is not happiness, because wealth is just an economic value, but can be used to gain some happiness; wealth is a means to further ends. The good life, according to Aristotle, is an end in itself. Similar to wealth, honour is not happiness because honour emphases on the individuals who honour in comparison to the honouree. Honour is external, but happiness is not. It has to do with how people perceive one another; the good life is intrinsic to the...