An overview of happiness as the greatest good in aristotles essay

Aristotle: Politics

Courage, for example, is a mean regarding the feeling of fear, between the deficiency of rashness too little fear and the excess of cowardice too much fear.

As he puts it, a clumsy archer may indeed get better with practice, so long as he keeps aiming for the target. Some of these classifications are still used today, such as the species-genus system taught in biology classes.

This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very challenging. The theoretical component is the making of a philosopher. Aristotle focuses his moral theory on virtuous action and argues that virtue is necessary, but not sufficient for happiness.

Thus, it is one thing to think of writing the great American novel, another to actually write it.

Aristotle and John Stuart Mill on Happiness and Morality

Ultimately, in order to act virtuously a person must act rationally in a manner that is between the two extremes of deficiency and excess when it comes to matters of pleasure. One of the themes running through Aristotle's thought that most people would reject today is the idea that a life of labor is demeaning and degrading, so that those who must work for a living are not able to be as virtuous as those who do not have to do such work.

For example, syllogisms are not employed in mathematics since they are less convenient. The second is perhaps a little more unexpected: Although the founders of cities create them for the sake of more comfortable lives, cities are unique in making it possible for people to live well.

According to Aristotle, it is very difficult to discover the mean, to discover the exact point between the two extremes that is best suited for you.


The significant change in human communities, however, comes when a number of villages combine to form a city. The argument that those who are captured in war are inferior in virtue cannot, as far as Aristotle is concerned, be sustained, and the idea that the children of slaves are meant to be slaves is also wrong: It would be wrong for the other people in the city to claim the right to rule over them or share rule with them, just as it would be wrong for people to claim the right to share power with Zeus.

Aristotle notes that one cannot have a large number of friends because of the amount of time and care that a virtuous friendship requires.

We have a rational capacity and the exercising of this capacity is thus the perfecting of our natures as human beings. It may be clear from the context that a word has been changed, but then again it may not, and there is always hesitation in changing the text as we have it.

The problem with democracy as the rule of the many is that in a democracy the many rule in their own interest; they exploit the wealthy and deny them political power.

In addition, although nowadays it is unacceptable to modify someone else's work without clearly denoting the changes, this is a relatively recent development and there are portions of Aristotle's texts which scholars believe were added by later writers.

Again, the reader is encouraged to investigate the list of suggested readings. Aristotle did write for general audiences on these subjects, probably in dialogue form, but only a few fragments of those writings remain. This is not the same as that of a man, but as with a man nature intends her to achieve virtues of the kind that are available to her: Fortunately, the beginning student of Aristotle will not need to concern themselves much with these problems.

History of optics Aristotle describes experiments in optics using a camera obscura in Problemsbook Several suggested editions are listed at the end of this article.

Aristotle’s Happiness

He was correct in these predictions, at least for mammals: Essentially, Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between two excesses. It is noteworthy that although Aristotle praises the politically active life, he spent most of his own life in Athens, where he was not a citizen and would not have been allowed to participate directly in politics although of course anyone who wrote as extensively and well about politics as Aristotle did was likely to be politically influential.

As a result he devotes more space to the topic of happiness than any thinker prior to the modern era.

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

Today we tend to think of "living well" as living a life of comfort, family satisfaction, and professional success, surrounded by nice things.

It is in Book VII that Aristotle describes the regime that would be absolutely the best, if we could have everything the way we wanted it; here he is considering the best regime that we can create given the kinds of human beings and circumstances that cities today find themselves forced to deal with, "For one should study not only the best regime but also the regime that is [the best] possible, and similarly also the regime that is easier and more attainable for all" b Biography and History Aristotle's life was primarily that of a scholar.

Those with blood were divided into the live-bearing mammalsand the egg-laying birdsreptilesfish. According to Aristotle happiness is an end, an end result of all the things a person does. Most of our acts are committed for a reason to achieve something else, but happiness is different.

Aristotle believes that searching for happiness is for being happy only and not for something else. Aristotle’s idea of the “good life” is very similar to mine because my definition the “good life” is merely one with a balanced lifestyle, accomplished goals and dreams, receiving an.

Thus Aristotle gives us his definition of happiness, “ the function of man is to live a certain kind of life, and this activity implies a rational principle, and the function of a good man is the good and noble performance of these, and if any action is well performed it is performed in accord with the appropriate excellence: if this is the case, then happiness.

Aristotle on Happiness essaysAristotle believes that happiness rests within an absolutely final and self-sufficient end. The reasoning behind this theory is that every man is striving for some end, and every action he does must be due to this desire to reach this final end.

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics study guide contains a biography of Aristotle, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a. Happiness is the greatest of all human good, because, as an end, it is an end unto itself, meaning that humans do not use it as a means to any other end.

It is not conditional happiness that Aristotle lauds, but rather something that is more akin to the modern definition of joy.

An overview of happiness as the greatest good in aristotles essay
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