The Good, the Happiness of a Human Being Essay

The Good, the Happiness of a Human Being Essay

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By the end of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle has taken us on a journey to find the ultimate good, the ultimate happiness. He has held throughout Nicomachean Ethics that the ultimate good must fit three criteria; it must be complete, self-sufficient and the fully human. Aristotle arrives at what he believes may have the potential of being the ultimate good. He believes that the contemplative life fits the three conditions of the ultimate end of all things. While contemplation may fit the conditions of an ultimate good still it does not appear to be the ultimate human happiness for all human beings.
To begin with, we must analyze a life of contemplation and the implications it assumes. An ideal life of contemplation would seem to neglect our body’s requirements. That is, it would demand that one fully immerses oneself into a state of mental isolation. Humans by nature need to communicate, nurture and maintain their bodies. “For someone who contemplates there is no need of such things for his being-at-work; rather, one might say they get in the way of his contemplating. But insofar as he is human being and lives in company with a number of people, he chooses to do the things that have to do with virtue, and thus will have need of such things in order to live a human life.” (X.8.194) An ideal life of contemplation would limit these necessities and instead place focus on mental maturity and growth. Naturally, we live in a physical world governed by senses, habits of human life and more importantly a lack of time. A life of contemplation would inevitably neglect these habits and instead foster mental maturity. This is why Aristotle alludes to gods when he mentions an ideal contemplative life. It is because gods, being immortal, have an ...


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...le the others are associated with the soul or the body, we speak of the ones that are associated with the soul as the most governing and especially good.” (I.8.13) This is precisely why an ultimate end for a human is hard to grasp.
In summary, the good, the happiness for a human being begins with his or her upbringing, in this case politics since we begin learning in our families and share our values in our community. It is fostered through the teachings of intellectual virtue and the practice of moral virtue. It is preserved through moderation in pleasure, voluntary magnanimity and mutually beneficial friendship. The ultimate happiness then is not singular but instead involves many virtues and many facets of human life in an individual and communal scope.



Works Cited

Aristotle, and Joe Sachs. Nicomachean Ethics. Newbury, MA: Focus Pub./R. Pullins, 2002. Print.

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