Aristotle's Theory of Human Nature

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Aristotle's Theory of Human Nature

By | April 2008
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Aristotle (together with Socrates and Plato) is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. He was the first to create a comprehensive system of philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics. Aristotle believed that human beings are “featherless bipeds”. This has to do with his theory of politics because Aristotle’s view on politics is essentially fascist. I personally don’t agree with Aristotle on the fact that he thinks most human beings are just featherless birds who can be forced into slavery so that the philosophers can sit around doing nothing but arguing all day. A better theory of society would be that people are all equal and unique, just like a snowflake. It is just like, I always say to people: All men are created equal.

Aristotle considered ethics to be a practical science, i.e., one mastered by doing rather than merely reasoning. Further, Aristotle believed that ethical knowledge is not certain knowledge (like metaphysics and epistemology) but is general knowledge. He wrote several treatises on ethics, including most notably, Nichomachean Ethics, in which he outlines what is commonly called virtue ethics. Aristotle taught that virtue has to do with the proper function of a thing. An eye is only a good eye in so much as it can see, because the proper function of an eye is sight. Aristotle reasoned that man must have a function uncommon to anything else, and that this function must be an activity of the soul. Aristotle identified the best activity of the soul as eudaimonia: a happiness or joy that pervades the good life. Aristotle taught that to achieve the good life, one must live a balanced life and avoid excess. This balance, he taught, varies among different persons and situations, and exists as a golden mean between two vices - one an excess and one a deficiency. Once again, however, this is a fascist solution—because it allows people who don’t have morals to just do...