Aristotle once stated that, “But if happiness be the exercise of virtue, it is reasonable to suppose that it will be the exercise of the highest virtue; and that will be the virtue or excellence of the best part of us.” (481) It is through Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics that we are able to gain insight into ancient Greece’s moral and ethical thoughts. Aristotle argues his theory on what happiness and virtue are and how man should achieve them.
Aristotle defines the highest good as that end which we seek for itself and for no other end. His reasoning is that there must be such an end, for if there was not, we would never seek any goal for itself (and thus never get to our ultimate goals) (NE I.2.1094a.20-25). This end was the way to live a good life. In Book I, chapter four, Aristotle argues that happiness is the highest good of all actions, which is to say that living well amounts to living happily (NE I.4.1095a.19-21). Aristotle then goes on at length about different accounts of which life constitutes the happy life (i.e. the life of pleasure vs. the life of virtue vs. the life of study) and then goes on to reject Plato’s theory of forms (a topic that will not be covered in this paper). He then returns to the subject of happiness in chapter seven and further characterizes it by saying that “[it] is apparently something complete and self-sufficient, since it is the end of the things pursued in action” (NE I.71097b.20-21). This is to say that other higher-order goods are themselves for happiness and happiness is for itself and itself only. At last, then, Aristotle gets to the discussion about the f...
Aristotle’s work, The Nicomachean Ethics, consists of numerous books pertaining to Aristotle’s Ethics—the ethics of the good life. The first book discloses Aristotle’s belief on moral philosophy and the correlation between virtue and happiness.
This paper will explain Aristotle’s idea of the good life as well as how virtues fit into the equation and if they are stable and enduring. Pertaining to the prompt, I will explain the three types of friendships Aristotle describes and how one of the friendships is the best according to him. I will also show the reason why Aristotle views friendship as one of the greatest goods. To answer the critic, I will show that although Aristotle holds that the good life is self-sufficient, because he holds friendship in such a high regard, he believes that a person will not be able to obtain perfect happiness without friendship.
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and scientist who understood happiness as a common goal shared among all humans, happiness was the achievement of human flourishing something he called ‘eudaimonia’ (Sober, 2009). Eudaimonia translates as the perfect happiness, human excellence and fulfillment, a universal interest to everyone, and a quality of goodness that enables a person to be able to reflect on their life and be happy with it (Brook, 2015, p. 315).
Is an action choice worthy for its own sake only if it would be a worthy choice, whether or not it served further ends? How, then, can such virtuous actions be choice worthy for their own sakes? This research paper will examine Aristotle’s views of virtue and happiness based on his Nichomachean Ethics. The Nicomachean Ethics was the first book written on ethics that was meant to teach us on how to be virtuous. Aristotle assumes that all of our actions should be aimed toward one ultimate end, and that is for the highest good. The goal of every person in life is too be happy and to have the ability to choose between different courses of actions; this concept of happiness is implied throughout Nichomachean. In it, Aristotle states that happiness consists in being noble and having the excellence of character and of thinking.
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, he thoroughly indicated a well-defined direction in order to achieve our true nature to which we seek happiness. For Aristotle, to be human means to be a rational animal who flourishes through reason to achieve the highest human good. To achieve happiness, one must li...
Aristotle accepts that there is an agreement that this chief good is happiness, but that there is a disagreement with the definition of happiness. Due to this argument, men divide the good into the three prominent types of life: pleasure, political and contemplative. Most men are transfixed by pleasure; a life suitable for “beasts”. The elitist life (politics) distinguishes happiness as honour, yet this is absurd given that honour is awarded from the outside, and one’s happiness comes from one’s self. The attractive life of money-making is quickly ruled out by Aristotle since wealth is not the good man seeks, since it is only useful for the happiness of something else.
Both Plato and Augustine offer unusual conceptions of what one must acquire to live a truly happy life. While the conventional view of happiness normally pertains to wealth, financial stability, and material possessions, Plato and Augustine suggest that true happiness is rooted in something independent of objects or people. Though dissimilar in their notions of that actual root, each respective philosophy views the attaining of that happiness as a path, a direction. Plato’s philosophy revolves around the attainment of eternal knowledge and achieving a metaphysical balance. Augustine also emphasizes one’s knowing the eternal, though his focus is upon living in humility before God. Both assert that human beings possess a natural desire for true happiness, and it is only through a path to something interminable that they will satisfy this desire.
“All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” (D of I 261). This statement, written by Thomas Jefferson, has to be one of the most controversial statements ever written. It does however agree with one of our earlier authors we read. Epicurus would agree with Jefferson in the manner that everyone should search for happiness. He tells us that “one must practice the things that produce happiness, since if that is present we have everything and if it is absent, we do everything in order to have it” (Letter to Menoeceus). It is apparent to Epicurus that the search for happiness is an absolute goal. Everyone either gets it or spends their life looking for it. Because of this, it is obvious to see how this author would agree with Jefferson by saying that we are given an unalienable right to pursue happiness. Another philosopher of our first semester that would have to agree with Jefferson is Aristotle. Unlike his teacher, Plato, Aristotle believed in the senses and also felt happiness was, what he called, one of the goods. “We think happiness is the most choiceworthy of all goods” (Nicmachean Ethics: Bk1 ch.