Aristotelian Concept Of Happiness In Human History And The Education Of Humanity

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According to Aristotle, an individual can achieve happiness only by realizing all the works and activities in accordance with reason throughout his lifetime. He claimed that happiness consists in cultivating and exercising virtue and it is the ultimate purpose of human existence, as stated in his work Nicomachean Ethics “He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life”. However, such Aristotelian concept of happiness inevitably contradicts the understanding of history as development which maintains that fulfilling the work of human exceeds the limits of an individual and thus can only be achieved in the course of history. Three philosophers – Lessing, Herder, and Kant – attempt to solve this inherent contradiction between history as development and the notion of happiness by proposing that human history is a progress towards an ultimate goal which can accomplished only by humanity as a whole rather than by individuals. In The Education of the Human Race, Lessing emphasizes that human history is a progressive development towards perfection which is achieved by the education of humanity through revelation not by the education of individual human being. As he stated “What education is to the individual, revelation is to the whole human race”, Lessing presents history as development by attempting to reconcile divine and human history and in doing so, he claims
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