Paper on Aristotle and Relationships at Work

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Name: Yuanwen Yang
Instructor: Marvin Brown
Course: Ethics: Business issues
Date: 09/20/2012

Paper on Aristotle and Relationships at Work
Aristotle is known as one of outstanding thinkers revealing the ideas of eternal wisdom to humanity. No wonder that his ethical ideas on civic relationships still find their reflection in modern-day conceptions of successful life. In the following paper, Aristotle’s ethical findings on the best way of living described in his work “Nicomachean Ethics” will be compared to the findings by modern-day ethical specialists. Overall, evaluating Aristotle’s ethical postulates and the concepts of the best places to work by the Best Places to Work Institute, it appears that there are a lot in common in them, especially in such important areas as the importance of warm and respectful relationships with the surrounding people, the importance for an individual to be proud of one’s occupation, and the importance of having a properly developed workplace culture at one’s working position. Aristotle’s Ethical Theory

In his best known work on ethics which is titled “Nicomachean Ethics”, Aristotle discusses his ideas on eternal question of how men should live to be the most successful and contented with what they have. In particular, Aristotle explains his concepts on real happiness, virtue, deliberation, justice, and friendship which are the most important variables of civic relations.

According to Aristotle, real happiness is not in pleasure, amusement, and entertainment, but it is in action that can be associated with virtue and highly moral way of living, since only virtue has true value for an individual and for those around him or her (Ostwald 25). The thinker also associates real happiness with contemplation as it is the highest form of morality characterized by completeness, self-sufficiency, continuity, and pleasure. For Aristotle, the happy life needs to concentrate on a single kind of good; thus, the happy life is a life of devotion to virtue and goodness.

The virtues are described by Aristotle as character qualities demonstrating balance in human soul. For example, such virtue as courage can be understood as a mean between the excess of cowardice and the excess of imprudence; temperance can be understood as a mean between the excess of insensibility and the excess of intemperance; generosity can be understood as a mean between the excess of moderation and the excess of wastefulness; and being friendly can be understood as a mean between the excess of being surly and the excess of being ingratiating (Ostwald 41). Greek word arête which Aristotle used to denote what we now call virtue in English literary means “excellence”. This helps understand what meaning the great thinker implicated in this term. As excellence is gained when an individual constantly practices one’s skills, virtue is something which can be learnt and mastered through constant practice and perfecting.

Aristotle describes deliberation as prudence or practical intelligence. Deliberation guides human action, coordinates one’s desires, controls the mechanism of making choices, and the mechanism of virtue acquisition (Ostwald 84). Deliberation is gained as a result of the process of constant inquiry. A good person has deliberation that helps make the world around a better place to live; a good person’s deliberation or power of reasoning succeeds in learning what is best in each particular situation, and how to achieve it using available means.

Justice is defined by Aristotle as the highest moral category having two dimensions: particular justice and general justice. Particular justice aims to regulate the cases when particular crime is committed, and general justice is a perfect or Universal justice that can be only seen in an ideal society. Aristotle states that practicing justice in one’s life is a sure way to real happiness, whereas the one who commits acts of injustice will not be satisfied in one’s life...
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