Aristotle's View on the Polis

Topics: Virtue, Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics Pages: 3 (1157 words) Published: April 28, 2006
Aristotle is known for his ideas and beliefs in Nichomachean Ethics. Aristotle sates the individual should be thought of and taking care of first. If we are to take care of the few individuals, then the whole society should be taking care of. Aristotle uses politics and ethics together to explain the good life. People generally disagree as to the nature and conditions of happiness. Some people believe that happiness is wealth, honor, pleasure, or virtue. Aristotle thinks that wealth is not happiness because wealth is just a monetary value, but can still be used to gain some happiness. Not directly of course, money can only buy a person objects that can bring them happiness for a short period of time. Just like wealth, honor is not happiness, because honor focuses more on the people, rather then the honoree. Pleasure is not happiness, because "the life of gratification" is "completely slavish", since most of the people in the polis decided to live their life based on the way animals live. The people are punished for things not accepted and reward for actions excepted. The last is virtue, and virtue is not happiness either, since one could be virtuous and not use it. Instead, Aristotle says that happiness is a combination of the four. Thus, Aristotle describes the good life by saying that, "the happy person is one who expresses complete virtue in his activities, with and adequate supply of external goods, not just for anytime but for a complete life". Aristotle believes that virtues are states of character. Aristotle presents his idea of moral and intellectual virtue out of the fact that they can only be achieved through excellence or virtue. Virtue is referred to as all of the characteristics that are required for a human being to carry out its proper function. Moral virtue consists of character traits like courage, generosity, temperance, justice, and so on. It is the kind of excellence having to do with the relationship between the rational part...
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