Aristotle and Ethical Egoism

Topics: Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue, Plato Pages: 3 (818 words) Published: April 28, 2013
Every person is born into this world with the opportunity to grow and realize his or her true potential. Aristotle believes that this is something everyone should work to achieve. No one intentionally wants to fail at being a human being and so people do whatever they can to continue to flourish. Aristotle’s philosophy favors ethical egoism because he believes that everything people do is in order to secure their own happiness in the end.

According to Aristotle, human’s have two sides, an animal side and a side of reason. If we only indulged in our animal side, we would never accomplish our ultimate goal of happiness. While engaging in the pleasures of what the animal a part of us wants, we help neither others nor ourselves. In order to make ourselves happy we must learn to live virtuously and through living virtuously, we help our society and eventually help ourselves. In the “Nicomachean Ethics,” Aristotle writes, “Now each function is completed well by being completed in accord with the virtue proper” (Aristotle pg. 9). Aristotle believes that we are not born a complete person; we only have the potential to become a complete and good person. For a person to grow and flourish into a good person their actions have to be accord with virtuous behavior. People must know what is right and love to do what is right in order for their potential to become present and for their actual purpose to function completely. Through a person’s virtuously behavior, their good actions work towards bringing them to happiness.

Happiness is the ultimate reason why people live. Without the quest for happiness, there is no point of reason. Happiness is essentially the reason why the world and all its inhabitants keeps moving. Aristotle says, “…the ends of the ruling sciences are more choice worthy than all the ends subordinate to them, since the ends are also pursued for the sake of the higher,” (Aristotle pg. 1). Through reasoning, virtuous people should be able to see that...
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