Virtue Ethics: Aristotle Vs. Al’ Ghazili What is the purpose of life? This is a question that has been argued since the beginning of time. Countless honorable and wise men have pondered and made conclusions about what our true purpose is in life. Aristotle and al’Ghazili are two philosophers that studied this purpose of life for almost all of their human existence. Their two proposals about the purpose of life and the ethics that are required to accomplish this purpose share some common ideas, while also having serious contrasts. According to Aristotle the ultimate goal to reach is happiness (Fitterer). All of our acts in life have some aim and that aim should be directed towards the end goal, happiness (Aristotle). How do we reach happiness? Aristotle believes that happiness is achieved through developing good virtues and character that leads to doing virtuous acts, which gives our soul pleasure (Wooden, Covey). To understand good ethics and virtues we must learn from teachers, examples, and deep thought. By using intellect, reasoning, and intent these virtuous acts become more easily voluntary (Fitterer). Once these ethics are understood we have the capacity to live a good life and do the right thing in all aspects of life (Wooden, Covey). Good ethics and virtues allow us to make decisions in life with ease (Wooden, Covey). By using these ethics we will not only know what is good but we ourselves will ultimately become good, in turn leading us to happiness. Aristotle discusses some virtues that help us on the path to the ultimate goal of happiness. The first virtue is bravery. Bravery is not only having courage in some situations but also having fear in appropriate situations. If we practice bravery throughout our life t... ... middle of paper ... ...f our acts do not have an impact on the ultimate goal. In regard to this response, I would say that it is in our nature to do what makes us happy, whether it is true happiness through virtues or happiness from material things. Either way one is going to do whatever they can to obtain what pleasures their soul. Our acts shape and mold us whether we know it or not. Our acts and decisions shape us, which can change our goals as well. If we perform virtuous acts then our goal will be virtuous which is why all of our acts should be aimed towards that goal. While both theories are well thought out pieces of work, Aristotle’s theory does make more sense to me, a man centralized around good virtues and happiness. Reading his work has definitely changed me and my own theories about life. My aim is steady upon a life full of good virtues and ultimately true happiness.
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According to Kim’s introduction, Aristotle considered ethics to be the “art of living well.” His writings reflected a perpetual quest to gain a better understanding of human character and how it is intertwined with virtues that are the impetus for human happiness. Aristotle has been deemed the writer of the first “systematic treatise” on ethics. He was essentially the first person to approach ethics from a more organized and deeper perspective. The book is divided into to sub-topics, and each human characteristic is examined and dissected without the constraints of a rigorous rule book. His teleological view of human life originates from his Greek background. He strongly supported the theory that there is an end or fulfillment that should be pursued by each individual. His theories are not as prominent in today’s world, but they are still considered the capstone for the discipline of philosophy.
As I read Aristotle’s book "Nicomachean ethics," I analyzed and comprehend his thoughts on all ten books. I came to realization that Aristotle thoughts throughout the book are difficult to express and clearly comprehend. But though it was difficult to breakdown, I could clearly see that it was written to determine what a human being is as a whole.
From pursuing pleasure to avoiding pain, life seems to ultimately be about achieving happiness. However, how to define and obtain happiness has and continues to be a widely debated issue. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives his view on happiness. Aristotle focuses particularly on how reason, our rational capacity, should help us recognize and pursue what will lead to happiness and the good life.';(Cooley and Powell, 459) He refers to the soul as a part of the human body and what its role is in pursuing true happiness and reaching a desirable end. Aristotle defines good'; as that which everything aims.(Aristotle, 459) Humans have an insatiable need to achieve goodness and eventual happiness. Sometimes the end that people aim for is the activity they perform, and other times the end is something we attempt to achieve by means of that activity. Aristotle claims that there must be some end since everything cannot be means to something else.(Aristotle, 460) In this case, there would be nothing we would try to ultimately achieve and everything would be pointless. An ultimate end exists so that what we aim to achieve is attainable. Some people believe that the highest end is material and obvious (when a person is sick they seek health, and a poor person searches for wealth).
Continuing upon this argue, Aristotle observed that whatever people do, the end result they wish to achieve is always the same: happiness. He even makes the point that “collecting butterflies, or climbing mountains, or reading lots of books” is always done for the sake of making that person happy. He argued that happiness is a rational activity that belongs to human functionality, it is pursued for its own sake, it is sufficient and it is the common denominator of all these varied activities that we accomplish; therefore, it must be the end of all the reasons, the highest good for the human being
Aristotle's thoughts on the concept of happiness are little more than a step-by-step process. One must first know the definition of the good life, and then go about fulfilling the purpose of a human in the specific methods he has prescribed. Aristotle's views have been studied for at least two thousand years, and they will continue to be considered as long as humans continue in the search for happiness.
The central notion of Aristotle is eudaimonia or “happiness” which is best translated as a flourishing human life . Happiness is a complete and sufficient good , and ever human aims for this “good” . It is a good that is chosen for its own sake and is the mean to the highest good , which is happiness . There is a contemplation about what constitutes as happiness , because it is dependent on each individual . Aristotle argues that a person’s life can not be determined as happy or unhappy until after they are dead . He says this because we consider human’s life as a whole not as a brief moment in time , therefore we can not establish if a person has a happy life until we can evaluate their life as a whole .
3. The greatest good that one can receive in one’s lifetime according to Aristotle is a life that is virtuous. Aristotle states that “the happy life is one in accordance with virtue and unimpeded, and that virtue is a mean, then the middling sort of life is best-the mean that is capable of being attained by each sort of individual.” 1295a36. This is also known as the Telos, where anything that we see has a some sort of end or goal. This varies among each and every person. A blacksmiths end will be much different from a shoemakers. This shows that each person must have some sort of different end goal in life.
In the book Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle uses his collection of lecture notes in order to establish the best way to live and acquire happiness. Aristotle says, “Virtue, then, is a state that decides consisting in a mean, the mean relative to us,.. .It is a mean between two vices, one of excess and one of deficiency.” The virtues that Aristotle speaks about in Nicomachean Ethics are: bravery, temperance, generosity, magnificence, magnanimity, and mildness. According to Aristotle, in order to live a happy life you must obtain these virtues and be morally good. Living a virtuous life is not an activity, but a predisposition. This means that you are genuinely inclined to act virtuously for the appropriate reasons.
Aristotle determined that the purpose of humankind is to continually think rationally and to develop a rational character. He believed that we must obtain knowledge to determine which action is best. To determine which action is best, Aristotle believed that one learns right from wrong, through consistency and developing habits (Kraut). The end goal of all human life, is to feel happy. Aristotle concluded that, in order to be happy, a person must reason; the more one reasons, the happier and the more virtuous the person will be. Anything that does not contribute to happiness and becoming virtuous, is considered a vice. Aristotle believed that virtue ethics were something someone is born with however, virtue ethics must be molded. Many philosophers in other cultures agreed with him, however, some
Everything has a purpose of a goal. For example, an acorn has a goal to become an oak tree. What then would the purpose be of a human being? Aristotle believes the ultimate goal of human life is to be happy, and that lasting happiness can be achieved through virtue. Virtue is defined as behavior showing high moral standards. This happiness looks more specifically on an individual’s behavior and character. A virtuous person shows
I agree with Aristotle in the thought that man’s telos is to acquire knowledge and that our inherent human nature is to be “happy.” However, I believe that human nature is driven by a desire to find the answer to one question: what is the meaning of life? I believe that through everything we do, whether it seems like we are learning or not, we are being taught more and more about the world and our purpose in it. Striving to put everything together and creating a sense of understanding of the question “why” leads us to behave and act the way that we do. Although finding an answer is an unattainable goal in a human’s lifetime, the act of living out their lives in a way that was constantly questioning and searching for the meaning of our existence is enough to achieve total happiness.
Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics investigates what is the human good, or “the highest good and end to which all human activity is directed towards” (Aristotle x). Through an argument against Plato’s theory of Forms, specifically that there is an ideal and eternal Form of Good, Aristotle says that the highest good is happiness, or eudaimonia (10). Happiness here refers to the fulfillment, or the flourishing, of one’s life (Aristotle x). It is not a mental or emotional state, the modern views of happiness. Aristotle reasons that in order to know how to achieve this human good, we must first know what is the human function (ergon), meaning “task” or “work,” because happiness means to perform the human function well, which he claims is “a life of
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