Aristotle’s Thoughts on Happiness
Happiness can be described differently by everyone. If you look in the Merriam-Webster dictionary they define happiness as “a state of well-being and contentment” or “a pleasurable or satisfying experience.” But if you could ask Aristotle what he would define happiness as he would say “prosperity combined with virtue; or as independence of life; or as the secure enjoyment of the maximum of pleasure; or as a good condition of property and body, together with the power of guarding one’s property and body and making use of them” (6). Happiness has is complex. You are said to need constituent parts that are internal and external. Some of the constituent parts are: good birth, wealth, a happy old age, health, beauty and virtue. Some of these constituent parts can be controlled by yourself but other you have no control over at all. Aristotle believes that the more parts you have the happier you will be. But not everyone can have all of these constituent parts. But you have to work and work hard to get the constituent parts that you can control. If you don’t work for them then you will have less parts and your happiness will not be as great as it could be. Aristotle says that “A man cannot fail to be completely independent if he possesses these internal and the external goods” (7). Happiness can also be gained through your proper function. This is Aristotle’s explanation of proper function “A mans proper function consists in activity of the soul in conformity with a rational principle” (8). In other words the proper function of man is to excel in what comes to you naturally. I believe that if you work hard at your proper function and set your standards high when it comes to your proper function then you will increase your happiness. I believe Wyatt Sorem was on the right direction when he said “Happiness is improving at your proper function.” Works Cited Page
Aristotle. “On Happiness”. Introduction to Great Books: Third Series....
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