Morality According to Aristotle and Hobbes

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Why be moral?

Aristotle basis of morality centers around what people fundamentally desire. Through his studies he found objects just and wealth and honors to be inadequate to human desires. He said that the ultimate goal for people should be self-sufficient, final, and attainable. In stating this he goes on to say that happiness is the only goal that meets all three of these requirements. Through this investigation it becomes clear that the whole basis of moral living to Aristotle is to find happiness in life.

To find happiness Aristotle states that we must live a virtuous life, between vices, choosing neither excess nor deficiency. This definition of virtue forms the basis of how we will go about our daily activities. Instead of choosing activities because of how pleasant they are, Aristotle says that we choose good activities because they are pleasant. However he goes on to say that they are pleasant as a function of their goodness. The pleasantness, therefore, is only arrived at through good acts, not vice versa.

Aristotle also discusses the principles of philosophical wisdom (the pursuit of truth) and practical wisdom (which brings about intelligent conduct). The basis of practical wisdom is the union of true knowledge of what we ought to do, and the desire to do it. Though he states that this is an important aspect of moral action, he says that philosophical wisdom is superior to it. He says that a life of contemplation comes closest to meeting the demands of happiness.

Therefore in closing Aristotle states and we should be moral beings so we can live a virtuous life with the practical wisdom of what choice we should make, and the philosophical wisdom to contemplate the world around us to attain what is our ultimate goal in life…happiness.

Thomas Hobbes

According to Thomas Hobbes the primary objective and goal in life is self-preservation. Self-preservation is attained through the acquisition of friends, riches and...
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