The Pursuit Of Virtue In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

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Why are you working at your current job? What are you doing to reach happiness? Many people find themselves asking these questions when they are contemplating life. We are beings trying to find our purpose. We are trying to reach happiness. According to Aristotle’s writing called, Nicomachean Ethics, all actions performed by humans aim to gain happiness, happiness is the ultimate end, and that happiness is greatly determined by moral and intellectual virtues. However, I will discuss how some believe that his doctrine of the mean lacks the direction of how one achieves equilibrium of the virtues. In addition, I will explain how Aristotle’s ethics, in fact, does give sufficient advice of how a person can live virtuously. Firstly, Aristotle…show more content…
To elaborate, if you ask someone why they are going to college, they could possibly respond by saying to get an education. While this response is accurate, if you continue to ask them why they are wanting and or doing something, you will eventually reach their final response, which would be happiness. Before you reach their definitive answer, you would realize that they perform certain activities to reach a different product/activity. On the other hand, if you asked them why they want happiness they cannot reply with anything other than they just want to. Therefore, this is proof that happiness is the highest good for mankind because it is the “end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake” (Pojman & Lewis 266). To further support this claim, Aristotle says that if we did not perform activities to reach the ultimate end, the process would be everlasting, making our aspirations meaningless (Pojman & Lewis…show more content…
This is known as a person’s virtue. In this case, a virtue is a disposition. Aristotle connects mankind’s function (reasoning) to virtue (excellence) by stating, “human good turns out to be activity of soul in conformity with excellence, and if there is more than one excellence, in conformity with the best and complete” (Pojman & Lewis 270). If someone wants to reach happiness, then they must live in accordance with virtue. This way of life will assure them that the activities they partake in are proper. To further understand the importance of virtues, one must learn about Aristotle’s doctrine of the mean. A virtue is a mean that sits between two extremes. For instance, as described by Dr. King, a person will want to have the virtue perseverance because they will comprehend the importance of knowledge and be motivated enough to finish their projects. On the excess side of that, a person would be intransigent. Having this characteristic means that someone does not know when to give up on a project, even when there are too many signs going against it. What happens is that they will end up wasting precious time that could have been spent on something else. On the opposite end, the deficiency of perseverance is irresolution. In this deficiency, a person does not complete a project because he/she ends up giving up too easily. There must have been obstacles they
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