PHIL 181: Ethics - Section 6
October 31, 2011
Nietzsche Response Paper
In Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, we learn that every one of our actions is influenced by a higher interest or objective, ultimately seeking personal fulfillment. Everything we do has a determined purpose that directs our life into a desired path. Aristotle portrays our actions as ends, and he believes that each end leads to a higher end until reaching a final end, eudaimonia. He believes that the only way to fulfill our life and attain complete happiness in life is to reach eudaimonia. Eudaimonia can only be reached once we have accomplished our personal goals, and practiced enough virtuous acts to develop excellence in character. Aristotle believes that developing virtue is the most important element for a fulfilling life. To be virtuous, we must have knowledge of what we are doing; we must know why it is important to do it; our actions must spring from a characteristic from our soul; and we must practice it with other people.
In Book VIII of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle talks about the importance of friendship. Aristotle believes that friendship is a kind of virtue that is necessary for a good life. He believes that we cannot attain true happiness without knowing the value of friendship, no matter how successful we may be. Therefore, Aristotle claims that we must reach eudaimonia by fulfilling our personal ends, and at the same time taking the effort to care about other people’s dreams and aspirations. But why is the development of friendship so important? If eudaimonia is the fulfillment of our personal lives, why should we care about other people? Are Aristotle’s thoughts about friendship egoist or altruist? After analyzing the text, we can interpret that even though friendship may sound like an altruistic concept, Aristotle depicts it as completely egoistic. The reason why Aristotle believes friendship is so significant is because of the personal benefits we...