Aristotle's Final Action Analysis

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This paper will discuss how Aristotle’s theory of action relates to the his thoughts on “one’s life as a whole.” It will start by defining actions and the attributes given to them. Next, Aristotle’s view on life as a whole will be discussed. Then the process behind determining one’s final end is addressed and the paper will conclude with the argument supporting why a single final end is optimal. Aristotle considers choice to be necessary for proper action and believes all actions are aimed towards a goal, which is inherently good (Annas 30). Under this premise actions only account for a small part of the things we do, as Aristotle assumes that ethics is only concerned with what someone does on purpose. This makes sense as ethics is not concerned…show more content…
Aristotle believes that at some point everyone should reflect on their life and determine if they are satisfied with the direction in which they are going (Annas 28). This requires the person to take a step back from their current situation and evaluate their past and determine how they will act in the future. To do this, they will need to understand what their ultimate goal in life is and how their actions have helped them achieve it so far (Annas 30). Aristotle believes that all of one’s actions are cumulative to one final end and that all other ends they seek are subordinate. This final end is something that one hopes to achieve for its own sake, while all subordinate ends are achieved for the sake of it (Annas 31). To visualize this one should picture life as a pyramid, with one ultimate end that is built on all others, as opposed to a mountain range, where each end is complete within itself and separate from all…show more content…
It would only be possible for someone to have either one, multiple, or no final ends. Aristotle discounts the later two in order to conclude that one should only have a single final end. One may argue that there are multiple things in life for which they value for their own sake, or even that they value nothing for its own sake. Aristotle thinks that it would be irrational for someone to have multiple things in life that they want for their own sake because they would always be competing for time and energy (Annas 32). Aristotle adds that a situation would most likely arise in one's life where they must choose which end they wish to work towards and this would result in one becoming superior to the other (Annas 32). If one was unable to determine which one of the ends they valued more they would simply be reduced to randomly choosing which to pursue. Aristotle argues that someone must have at least one final end by stating that if one does not value anything in life for its own sake then life would be empty and vain, and we know that life is not empty and vain (Annas 32). Through this rationalization it is only reasonable to believe that one should seek a sole final
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