Plato 's Nicomachean Ethics, Written About 350 B.c Essay

Plato 's Nicomachean Ethics, Written About 350 B.c Essay

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You wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat lunch, come home from work, eat dinner, get a pay check, pay bills and then go to bed only to start the cycle over and over again. What is the purpose of these repetitive cycles? Is it a way to fulfil our purpose in life or are these just motions that we carry out in order to survive? When most people would have a hard time answering these questions, a philosopher named Aristotle believed that all humans have the same purpose in life. He believed that everything we do in life is to fulfil one sole purpose – to achieve happiness. Could such a bold belief hold merit even thousands of years later especially when such topics are extremely subjective? In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, written about 350 B.C.E., Aristotle strived to give advice on how a person can become a truly good person, which will then lead to the achievement of the greatest good - happiness.
Aristotle believed that the greatest good – or the final end that we all seek to achieve through other goods – is happiness. Aristotle came to this conclusion by analyzing three key types of lives. First, there is the life of seeking pleasure. This proved to be a weak argument, because if a human’s sole purpose in life is to seek pleasure we would be no greater than animals. Also, pleasure itself would not be the true end goal. When we seek pleasure and avoid pain, we do so because pleasurable activities and items bring us a measure of happiness. In other words, pleasure would be a good that we seek but we seek pleasure to make us happy, hence the final good we are searching for is happiness. Secondly, Aristotle discussed the life of politics. To Aristotle, having political power or influence brings virtue and honor. Although havi...

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...d. As human beings, we tend to change our minds, our guidelines, our morals and our beliefs according to what fits us and what fits this changing world around us. So would a human be capable of writing an ethics system without bias or an unchanging opinion? In short, no. It is just not possible. Even constitutional amendments have annulled other laws and amendments, because of people’s changing morals. What was wrong back then may not be wrong now and vice versa. If a group of men ordained to rule a nation cannot establish unwavering justice, how so can one man define the system of ethics? The Nicomachean Ethics provides acceptable conclusions such as happiness being the greatest good one wants to attain and that being a good person requires constant habitual virtuous deeds, but overall the Nicomachean Ethics is for us to contemplate and not use as an ethics system.

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