Is Virtue Sufficient for Happiness? Essay

Is Virtue Sufficient for Happiness? Essay

Length: 705 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

There is much debate over the right path to happiness in life dating back to early civilization in the Roman Empire. Majority of people believe that happiness can only be achieved by material things such as; wealth, political power, fancy cars and so forth, whereas others believe that striving for pleasure and success ultimately yields happiness. Liberal education tends to take a conceptual approach to teaching the importance of virtues, whereas vocational studies tend to have a more practical approach. In “On Liberal and Vocational Studies,” Roman philosopher Seneca gives his own view of happiness and the importance of liberal studies in virtuous character of men. As a champion for living a virtuous life as opposed to materialism, Seneca’s remarks explain his arguments for virtue. Essentially, Seneca argues that men should not place emphasis on the things of this world arguing that happiness is not achieved by the possessions in one’s life, but by the way one lives their life.
Certainly the most fundamental rejection to Seneca’s take on happiness may have to do with man’s daily desires and urges in life. Seneca suggests that men should and can have fruitful lives without fulfillment of their urges as long as they are virtuous. But it is safe to say that having desires is simply the nature of man and therefore man’s desires are meant to be satisfied. Seneca seems to suggest that a man without desires, has no strife and therefore is a virtuous man which means that a man with no desires is ultimately a happy man. Seneca believes that liberal arts in general contribute greatly to the equipment of life, but have nothing to do with virtue arguing that the importance of a liberal arts education is ...

... middle of paper ...

...a conceptual approach to life which all men to adhere to.
Seneca challenges Land owners to be virtuous and not place their focus on the importance of their material (Land) possession in this world, “Who owned the land before your grandfather? You did not enter into this land as an owner but as a tenant.” Seneca goes on to advise men to content with the land they have and learn to share with their brother. This blends in with Seneca’s original stance on virtue and the argument that one must make best of life with the materials that one has been given.

Many stoic philosophers have taken a different approach to virtue and happiness. Homer and Epicurus for instance argue that happiness through desires and virtue are co-dependent suggesting that men with no desires cannot live happy lives. This slightly counters Seneca’s belief that happiness is a result of virtue.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Human Happiness And External Goods

- Ashley Janowiak Human Happiness and External goods Happiness is a goal every human pursues, yet the ways in which it is pursued differs amongst people. Some believe prosperity will bring them happiness. Others believe material, power, fame, success, or love will bring them happiness. No matter what one believes is the right way to conquer this goal, every person will take their own unique path in an attempt to find it. But what is happiness. Happiness is often viewed as a subjective state of mind in which one may say they are happy when they are on vacation with friends, spending time with their family, or having a cold beer on the weekend while basking in the sun....   [tags: Ethics, Happiness, Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue]

Strong Essays
2347 words (6.7 pages)

My Views On Life And Happiness Essay

- ... Therefore, someone that has always dreamed of being a successful soccer player cannot be happy being a well known professional boxer. Having great character traits that enable us to develop great potential is important for a meaningful life, but most importantly is to do what gives us happiness. In my perspective I do believe that happiness is linked to pleasure, and by cultivating pleasure we can live a good life which allows me to say that I do agree with Epicurus in that point. Time to think, self-sufficiency and friends also play a big role in our pursue of happiness for example, when we are in need of a friend to hear us and we get that state of inner tranquility that makes us fe...   [tags: Ethics, Happiness, Positive psychology, Want]

Strong Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

Self-Sufficient Happiness or Happiness Dependent on Other Influences Essay

- Aristotle’s theory and self-sufficiency Aristotle’s theories start by expressing happiness as the number one importance in life . The only way to obtain this absolute happiness is to be a good person and commit good actions. In Aristotle’s theory he expresses different avenues to achieve being a good person, some of which will be discussed later on. Along the way, Aristotle states “happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action.” This raises the question is happiness in Aristotle’s eyes, something that is obtained self-sufficiently or does happiness also require outside influences....   [tags: Aristotle, external goods, perspective]

Strong Essays
648 words (1.9 pages)

The English Language As Happiness Essay

- ... A common believe belief is that to be happy one must live a life of virtuous activity, but to understand how this works we must look at the layout of the human soul and how it differs from other animals. Virtue Ethics and Soul Both Aristotle and Plato divide the souls into different areas of representation, Plato’s division goes reason, spirit and appetite, however, I am not looking at Plato reason for happiness. Aristotle splits up the soul into three areas as well. The Rational part, the ethical part and the nutritive part....   [tags: Ethics, Plato, Virtue, Happiness]

Strong Essays
1762 words (5 pages)

Virtue and Happiness Essay examples

- Happiness is the goal of every human beings according to Aristotle, however what does happiness imply. It is in his attempt to define happiness and to find a way to attain it that Aristotle comes across the idea of virtue. It is thus necessary to explain the relationship between these two terms. I will start by defining the good and virtue and then clarify their close link with the argument of function, I will then go into more details in explaining the different ways in which they are closely related and finally I am going to give an account of the apparent contradiction in Book X which is a praise of the life of study....   [tags: Aristotle, Philosophy]

Strong Essays
1466 words (4.2 pages)

Happiness : The Secret Of Happiness Essay

- ... When people go see a movie or ride a bike the experience pleasure but when they depart from their action, and still find peace within themselves they are experiencing happiness. Pleasure won’t guarantee someone a happy life, only a burst of illegitimate joy for a short moment in time. “The trouble with equating pleasure with happiness is when the thing is gone, so too does our happiness” (Friedlander). Aristotle states that “the many and crudest seem to suppose, not unreasonably, that the good and happiness are pleasure” (Aristotle 50)....   [tags: Happiness, Personal life, Positive psychology]

Strong Essays
1042 words (3 pages)

Essay on The Strengths Of Virtue Ethics

- ‘The Strengths of Virtue Ethics Outweighs its Weaknesses’ The concept of virtue ethics was first developed by Aristotle in 'nichomachean ethics '. He believed that the point of ethics is to become good, and virtue ethics highlights this well. It is an agent centred idea of morality and focuses on how a person can develop virtues and what sort of person you should be, rather than how you should act in order to be good. An alternative name for it is aretaic ethics, which comes from the Greek arete meaning any kind of excellence....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Virtue ethics, Aristotle]

Strong Essays
1160 words (3.3 pages)

Virtue Is A State Of Character Essay

- Alristotle: Virtue and Happines “Virtue, then, is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e., the mean relative to us, this being determined by a rational principle, and by that principle by which the man of practical wisdom would determine it (...) Hence, in respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme.” (Perry, page 555). A very famous Greek philosopher named Aristotle wrote a book called Nicomachean Ethics, were he relates happiness with virtue and defines virtue as a state of character concerned with choices....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue ethics]

Strong Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)

How Can Enduring Happiness Arise From Friendship? Essay

- How can enduring happiness arise from friendship. Different people seek for different things and everyone has various goals in their life. For instance, wealth, pleasure, health, friendship, you name it. Every little action in our life is linked with our will to pursuit some goods. One may ask, is there any highest common good that we all seek for. As Aristotle said “happiness is apparently something complete and self-sufficient, since it is the end of the things achievable in action.” (Aristotle, p.8)....   [tags: Friendship, Virtue, Happiness]

Strong Essays
1166 words (3.3 pages)

Essay on Virtue and Happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

- In consideration to Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s view of the great-souled man is that of an individual that represents happiness and obtains the five virtues: wisdom, justice, bravery, self-control, and the overall goodness within an individual (happiness). The magnanimous person is very complex and displays the proper virtues at the proper time, and in the proper way. In addition, the great-souled man accommodates to his surroundings where he is honorable but not boastful in his actions. Aristotle believes that it is only possible to attain happiness within a political organization because happiness represents living well without being concerned with others, they solely live for the trut...   [tags: Nicomachean Ethics Essays]

Strong Essays
1147 words (3.3 pages)