Aristotle Good Life Analysis

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In this essay, I will be discussing Aristotle’s conception of the “good life” which he outlined in the Nicomachean Ethics. As we will see, the “good life” for man according to Aristotle is one where we perform the particular activity which is distinctly ours and guides us towards eudaimonia – sometimes translated as ‘happiness’ or ‘well-being’. He shows us how the other conflicting depictions of the ‘good life’ are misguided, and how we should aim for a life of reason. First, however, I will discuss briefly what Aristotle meant by the term ‘good’ and then move on to how he arrived at the conclusion on human happiness.
Aristotle believes that the ‘good life’ for a particular organism depends on what that organism is and the conditions it requires
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This is particularly so since it seems that, according to Aristotle’s philosophy, the good life is reserved for a select few who were fortunate enough to grow up in an environment conducive to their success. This disillusionment probably arises through the differing concepts of ‘good’ between Aristotle’s time and ours. We usually use the term ‘good’ in order to express a moral judgement; for example, ‘respecting your colleagues is good.’ But understood in a more comparative sense Aristotle’s use of the word ‘good’ merely outlines usually accepted facts. Most would agree that it is better to have friends than to be lonely, or to be financially secured than to be…show more content…
Aristotle claimed that virtues are ‘hexis’ – often translated into ‘habit’. Many dispute this translation and prefer to use the term ‘disposition’. Whatever the translation we use, he seems to be referring to us having the ‘appropriate feelings’ in the face of particular situations. Aristotle claims that ethical virtues involve a median between two extremes. On one side of the spectrum we find deficiencies, and on the other excess. For instance; an extreme would be rashness and deficiency cowardice. The mean between these two is courage. Self-control is also the mean between the deficiency involved in indecisiveness and the excess in impulsiveness. Aristotle did, however, acknowledge that the mean may not be the same for everyone or consistent throughout all circumstances. This description of virtue differs significantly from the description provided by Plato in his dialogues. Plato claimed that virtue is a type of knowledge since qualities are only beneficial when they are accompanied by knowledge. Virtue is always beneficial, thus, it must be a form of knowledge. If virtue is knowledge, vice – being the opposite of virtue – must be the lack of knowledge.
As with every ethical system, Aristotle’s theory is subject to some criticism. One such criticism concerns the wide array of different lifestyles and living conditions which the human species inhabits. Humans all over the world have different palates,
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