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
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the concept of happiness is introduced as the ultimate good one can achieve in life as well as the ultimate goal of human existence. As Aristotle goes on to further define happiness, one can see that his concept is much different from the 21st-century view. Aristotelian happiness can be achieved through choosing to live the contemplative life, which would naturally encompass moralistic virtue. This differs significantly from the modern view of happiness, which is heavily reliant on material goods. To a person in the 21st-century, happiness is simply an emotional byproduct one experiences as a result of acquiring material goods.
For example, as morality is a part of rationale, the good performance of morality can lead an individual towards a virtuous and good life. Thus, when human function is done well, it is in accordance with virtue and best human life is achieved. In addition, it can be inferred that since Aristotle’s definition of happiness is to be virtuous, performing rational activity well can lead to happiness. In addition, Aristotle states, “if there are more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete” (1098a18). This means that eventually there will be one virtue that is inclusive of all virtue and that displays an end, and this virtue will be in line with the self-sufficient and inclusive concept of happiness as the chief good.
As humans, it is second nature pursue happiness to the extent that it is written in the American Declaration of Independence (Kluger). Happiness is an state of mind that is desired by many as can be attested by the lengths people go to achieve it. It is common practice to go out with friends on the weekend, visit the amusement park, or go shopping in order to maintain the state of happiness. The emphasis placed of the pursuit of euphoria should prompt the question as to whether happiness should be the state that people should attempt to preserve as a default state during a person's life or if happiness is hindering the acquisition of satisfaction in their lives. While happiness is considered by many a wonderful emotion, the happiness seems
The pursuit of happiness is defined as “the fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy.” The ability to find happiness is a right guaranteed to all citizens in the United States, yet many countries do not possess the same rights as America and instead are plagued by corruption. Procuring contentment is a difficult journey for all people, but those who do not have access to knowledge will find it to be a much more daunting task. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Montag’s struggle to find joy under an oppressive regime required him to challenge his knowledge in a way he never truly had before. Happiness is analyzed constantly in the real world as well, and the philosophers and scientists who study it consistently link it to knowledge, as shown in the articles by Main, Socrates and in the article about Individualism. By gaining knowledge, a person can find a true sense of happiness due to the fact that contentment is found through intellectual freedom, the capacity to view the world on a deeper level, and the ability to make empowered choices.
The pursuit of happiness is defined as an individual and collective activity. Given that philosophers defined happiness as an issue that precedes morality in life, it is important that an individual consistently seek to exude happiness. For this reason, the use of drugs as a substitute and means of being happy is a flawed and often completely misguided of what it means to be happy (Haybron, 2011). It is important that virtue motivate the motivation of personal happiness. Exuding empathy, kindness and gratitude are some of the approaches that are likely to realize collective personal happiness.
He believes that happiness is achieved through a life full of virtue as well as the expansion of reason and the ability of greater wisdom. This is why we take various actions, to ensure enough outer goods to obtain health, leisure time and the ability to have virtue in our lifespan. Furthermore, another point Aristotle emphasizes, is that moral virtue is located somewhere between extremes and deficiency. That’s where the Greek saying “παν μετρον αριστον” comes from, meaning everything is good but don’t over or under do it. Keep everything in moderation, except virtue.
Philosophers have debated the distinct subjects such as justice and happiness extensively. For instance, Plato discusses the subject of justice by arguing that justice is what allows people to live excellently. In contrast, Aristotle discusses happiness by arguing that acquiring virtues enables people to achieve the ultimate goal of happiness. What is the meaning of the terms justice and happiness? The term happiness could be elucidated as a satisfaction from goals achieved or from one’s status.
Just like this, we form and follow the right life principles for ourselves. Apart from moral and intellectual virtues there are also ones we can’t really achieve. Happiness means living in accordance with virtue, so the highest happiness, the best life would mean living in accordance to the highest virtue, the divine one. “But we must not follow those who advise us, being men, to think of human things, and, being mortal, of mortal things, but most, so far as we can make ourselves immortal, and strain every nerve to live in accordance with the best thing in us...”(book 10, chapter 7) Here Aristotle means that the only way to live a best live is to live it like gods do, to seek immortality (not the physical one). Best life can’t be human like, as it is the perfect state, only divine things are worth seeking
states that are praiseworthy are the ones we call virtues” just having these virtues does not mean one is living the good life. We must also be living with these virtues According to Aristotle, “happiness is an activity of the soul (16).” In order to achieve this true happiness, we must be living a life of virtue. This happiness is not to be confused with the good we seek in our every action, for these goods in most cases, are short lived and usually meant for our own benefits rather than the community. For example, one man steals food from a homeless shelter while the other donates to it. Both are reaching a state of happiness, but one has done so in virtue, while the other is only satisfying a bodily need.