Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics begins by exploring ‘the good’. Book I argues that, unlike other goods, “happiness appears to be something complete and self-sufficient, and is, therefore, the end of actions” (10:1097b20-21). In other words, happiness is the ultimate good. But how does one achieve happiness? Aristotle formulates this in the context of work, since for all things, from artists to horses, “the good and the doing it well seem to be in the work” (10:1097b27-28). Much like the work of a harpist is to play the harp, “the work of a human being is a being-at-work of the soul in accordance with reason” (11:1098a7-8). Moreover, in order to achieve the good, it is important that each being performs his work excellently. While all harpists’
Aristotle has a firm belief that human being’s actions need to be aimed at and end with some sort of good. With this is mind, he further explains that happiness is the end result of our actions. Thomas Hill, although similar in view, advocates for the importance to not only preserve our environment but connects how the preservation of nature directly relates to human virtue. In this essay, I will argue that Thomas Hill’s beliefs on human virtue along side with the preservation of our environment goes hand in hand with Aristotle’s views of the development of human virtue. Both Aristotle and Thomas Hill believe that human virtue not only has the power to control our actions positively or negatively but can also influence whether human beings
The main topic of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is eudaimonia, i.e. happiness in the “living well” or “flourishing” sense (terms I will be using interchangeably). In this paper, I will present Aristotle’s view on the role of external goods and fortune for the achievement of happiness. I will argue that he considers them a prerequisite for virtue. Their contribution to happiness is indirect, via the way they affect how we can engage in rational activity according to the relevant virtues. I will then object that this view threatens to make his overall account of happiness incoherent. Fortunately, there is a way to reconcile the apparent tensions, in book III.
According to Aristotle, everything we do in life, we do for the sake of some good, or at least something we perceive to be good. We call an act good if it satisfies a certain need. The satisfaction of this need is then considered good if it is a means for satisfying some further need, and this in turn is good if it will satisfy still another need. Sooner or later this process reaches a point where it is no longer a means for some further end but is an end in itself. This final end is what Aristotle means by the chief good.
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. Understanding Aristotelian happiness is important for the 21st century because
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.
In Book I of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle brings up the idea that in order to discover the human good we must first develop a certain understanding and identify the function of a human being. Aristotle’s function argument is brought up through his belief that the human function is rational activity, meaning that our good as human beings is rational activity performed fine because this is what leads to living well. The good Aristotle tries to get across can be seen in many different forms depending on how it is viewed, because of the idea that the main function of anything is to reach a final end, the final end is considered the good. “The end of medicine is health, that of shipbuilding, a ship, that of military science, victory…” (Nicomachean,
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, he outlines the different scenarios in which one is responsible for her actions. There is, however, a possible objection which raises the possibility that nobody is responsible for their actions. Are we responsible for some of our actions after all? If so, under what circumstances? Based on an evaluation of Aristotle’s arguments and the objection that stands against it, people are responsible for voluntary actions and involuntary actions whose circumstances or particulars they themselves have caused.
“Every skill and every inquiry, and similarly every action and rational choice, is thought to aim at some good; and so the good has been aptly described as that which everything aims. But it is clear that there is some difference between ends: some ends are activities, while others are products which are additional to the activities. In cases where there are ends additional to the actions, the products are by their nature better than activities.” (Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, as translated by Crisp, 2000, p. #3) Aristotle was the first philosopher who wrote a book on ethics titled, Nichomachean Ethics.
Aristotle advanced the philosophy of ethics, where he demonstrated that it is a means of achieving an end to happiness. However, happiness means many things to different people. To Aristotle, the most adequate way to pursue happiness is through the virtue of excellence. In his writings, Aristotle connected his therory of virtue to economics, and leadership as well. It is a matter of connecting ones personal ethics to that of ones business ethics., simply because Aristotle made no disticntion between ethics and politics. Aristotle illustrated the purpose of ethics in leadership in that he believed that virtue is ingrained in character (Ciulla, 2003).
It is critical to recognize Mill’s argument that a degree of contentment can exist in periods of less happiness. However, Aristotle’s view of perceiving wellbeing or goodness as ultimate is more pronounced. Worth emphasizing, Aristotle deeply explores his arguments basing them on functions of a rational man and virtues out of habits. Today, a virtuous citizen is one whose actions are inward, in response to conscience and moral obligations as a member of society. Such a person, not waivered with intensities of pleasures, honor, and wealth but seeks to have a satisfactory level of happiness with friends, co-workers, and family among other
Aristotles starting point is with the highest good. It is the ultimate end goal. The highest human good is always worth pursuing in its own right. It is an activity that is an end in itself. This conception allows him to isolate two features of what he determines the ‘end goal’ or ‘final purpose’.
At the end of everyone’s lives, the goal appears to be about attaining happiness. Describing how to obtain happiness has been an issue that was debated in the past but is still talked about now . In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle expands on his view of happiness and he focuses particularly on how reason helps recognize and pursue what will lead to happiness and the good life. I feel that Aristotle’s philosophies on happiness are important works within the field of philosophy and he considered one of the………of it . In this paper, I will explore Aristotle’s beliefs regarding happiness then compare and contrast them to those of Martin Seligman.
For Aristotle, happiness is the end and purpose of human existence. To pursue happiness is to go for telos. Happiness is neither pleasure nor virtue, but an exercise of virtue. Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one’s life. Hence, it is a goal not a temporary state.