Virtue Ethics: Aristotle Vs. Al’ Ghazili

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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...

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...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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