Aristotle's Happiness and Virtue

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In Aristotle’s piece entitled “Happiness and Virtue,” he discusses the different types of virtues and generally how one can achieve happiness.
According to Aristotle, human happiness is a life long process. It is continuously ongoing and the purpose has the end in itself. Happiness is an activity of the soul and in that is an ongoing actualization of the soul’s potential for virtue. Being virtuous is self- sufficient in itself and therefore leads to human happiness.

There are four parts of the soul which are discussed. The first is the vegetative which the sole activities are growth and nutrition. This is known as the natural virtue. Every human has this portion in their soul yet it is still on the same level as lower organisms which perform these basic metabolic processes. The nest and moderately more complex portion of the soul is the sensitive area which evokes animalistic sensation, desires, and appetites. This is an example of what Aristotle refers to as an ethical virtue. It is a habitual behavior where a “relative mean” between excess and deficiency must be mastered according to circumstance. Finally, there are the intellectual virtues which separate humans from animals and the rest of life here on earth. Practical reason is one in which humans have the ability to think and reason. Under this type of virtue, he also states that as you make yourself more virtuous or perform more virtuous acts, it is self-fulfilling and self-rewarding. If these virtuous acts are ongoing over a lifetime, the person, in Aristotle’s eyes, can and will achieve happiness. The second type of intellectual virtue is theoretical reason where based off of reason and personal experience, one will gain wisdom and therefore the highest virtue attainable (according to a philosopher’s opinion). It is an end in itself, self- sufficient, and is, in his opinion, the most divine. Wisdom is what truly makes us human. Since happiness is a continuous activity and our final end, wisdom is the...
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