Aristotle's Impact on Current Society

Topics: Aristotle, Virtue, Plato Pages: 3 (812 words) Published: October 14, 2010
Aristotle’s Impact on Current Society


HUM 360 B1

Wilmington University

Aristotle was one of the most important western philosophers. He was a student of Plato and the teacher of Alexander the Great. He wrote on many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. I found that his biggest impacts on modern society were in the subject areas of ethics, and zoology. Aristotle wrote the first book ever written about ethics titles “The Nicomachean Ethics,” and it is still one of the greatest and most influential. Its purpose is to teach us to be virtuous rather than to understand what virtue is. (Aristotle, 2009) Aristotle believed that virtue is a habitual way of acting -- not an emotion or a capacity, and believed that there are intellectual virtues, about thinking, and moral virtues about character. He states that a virtuous act requires that we do the right thing knowingly and willingly and that we do the act for its own sake, not from an ulterior motive or reward. The Nicomachean Ethics, states that Happiness is virtuous activity that fulfills the human’s proper function which brings pleasure. However, our ultimate end isn't pleasure; if it were, we'd be no better than the animals. Aristotle believed that physical pleasures tempt us with excesses and lead us away from virtue and happiness (Aristotle, 2009). He believes that the highest form of happiness is philosophical wisdom. This involves scientific understanding combined with demonstration. Contemplation is the most continuous and self-sufficient pleasure. Philosophical wisdom combined with a virtuous character is complete happiness. (Aristotle, 2009)

There are many people in modern society who follow the "Virtue Ethics" movement. These people find their inspiration in Aristotle. Deirdre McCloskey argues that virtue ethics can provide a basis for a balanced approach to understanding...
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