Aristotle: Function Argument

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 557
  • Published : October 15, 2012
Open Document
Text Preview
Philosophy of the Human Nature

In Aristotle’s Nicomacheon Ethics Book he uses his function argument as grounds for his claim that the human function is the activity of the soul in accordance with excellence or virtue. I lay out the arguments that make up Aristotle’s conclusion in order to pinpoint exactly which of Aristotle’s statement I believe is false. (1) Aristotle first asserts that happiness is an ultimate good that is both complete and self-sufficient. (2) The ultimate good for a thing is its ability to complete its function. (3) Human being’s must have a function beyond an occupation in society such as a potter or painter because the ultimate human good must be all encompassing. So the function of a human being cannot specifically be being good at any one position or task. (4) The human function cannot involve just growth because that is essentially the function of plants, and a humans function must be unique in itself. (5) Aristotle claims that because animals and plants cannot reason, a human being’s function must have something to do with rationality, the part that involves our soul. (6) Lesser goods like wealth all are meant to lead to happiness, this rises from the first premise that the ultimate good must be self-sufficient. (C) Therefore he concluded that the human function is the completion of a task (the activity) that involves the soul (not the body), and leads to doing what is ultimately the most virtuous or excellent thing to do. The human function is the activity of the soul in accordance with excellence or virtue.

I disagree with Aristotle’s conclusion because I believe premise 4 and 5 are false. He asserts that a human being and a plant cannot have the same functions. Here I think there is a flaw in his logic, Aristotle makes an unreasonable jump in what a person should do and what a person has to do. Humans may have simply evolved from a cell like any other animal, which would suggest that completing our base physical goals,...
tracking img