Unlike Plato, Aristotle questions and concludes that virtue does not suffice happiness. His definition of happiness is the activity of the soul in accordance with the most perfect virtue. He believes one must be active and make full use of his/her rational capacities to function well. This perfecting of ones character was Aristotle?s key to happiness.
Many believe the two are interchangeable when speaking about morals and ethics, when the two in no way mean the same thing. Morals are subjective beliefs that belong to an individual, they are one’s own beliefs as to what is right and what is wrong. Ethics on the other hand are the rules that society creates and teaches regarding proper and improper, right and wrong, social behavior. Morals are internal, ethics are external, and they have been the unwritten rules of society as old as mankind, which govern proper social conduct based on the greater good of the popular belief. Philosophers have tussled over the nature of the concepts of morality and virtue, where they stem from as well as their true meanings.
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.
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 order to achieve happiness one must develop a good character and good habits, thus a virtuous life is created through constant practice. Virtuous thoughts and actions lead to good habits, which in turn lead to a better character. Consequently, one achieves happiness. In conclusion, Aristotle proves that a man leading a good life uses his reason to a virtuous end. Reason, being the attribute that makes man unique, is then used to its best ultimate end.
Arguably one of the most pondered questions in philosophical thought has been, “What is the meaning of life?” Humans have been put on this earth with the knowledge of self awareness and the ability to manipulate the environments that they inhabit to a greater extent than any other species on the planet. Ultimately one must wonder what purpose there is to one’s own existence and define what it means for them to be. Presupposing the existence of different human beings in the external world, there would undoubtedly be varying opinions regarding the ultimate purpose of existence. Several key thinkers in modern existentialism provide the necessary framework for establishing a so-called “meaning of life”. Marcel, Sartre, Heidegger and Camus, refer to the theoretical frameworks of subjectivity, freedom, responsibility and purpose, in modern existentialism. With reference to the theoretical frameworks, established by these reputable thinkers, one could propose an answer to the age old question, “What is the meaning of life?”. That being, the meaning of life is “to live a good a good life”.
A Glimpse into Aristotelian moral theory When it comes to philosophy and philosophers there are many great thinkers that seem to originate in one’s mind. One philosopher that many had heard in some form is the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Aristotle is one the most recognized philosopher, dating all the way back to over 350 B.C. Aristotle has thought up great theories that have affected almost every aspect of human knowledge. His wide range of wisdom has shaped history forever. Aristotle’s ethics has been described teleological, meaning that all things are for the interests of humans.
Nicomachean Ethics: Courage 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. To begin with, Aristotle tells us his meaning of virtues and vices.
Every person seeks a purpose or has a question about their ultimate meaning. Religion, practices and traditions give us our values in multiple ways. Our human goal is to find out which question we are call to answer and this question depends solely on one’s moral life.