Aristotle, Conflicting Lifestyles

Topics: Nicomachean Ethics, Ethics, Virtue Pages: 3 (831 words) Published: May 14, 2002
Conflicting Lifestyles

When comparing the contemplative lifestyle to the moral virtuous lifestyle, one finds the differences to rest on the three types of good: goods of the body, external goods, and goods of the soul.

One conflict comes between leading a courageous, brave life and desiring happiness. To explain the aforementioned I feel it necessary to define true courage. It seems true courage revolves around death. Not every kind of death is considered noble, for example death from drowning or death from disease. Aristotle feels the noblest death is death in battle because man is faced with the greatest dangers. To die a noble death, one must be in a situation where he can die at any moment, yet still is fearless (bk 3, 1115a 29-1115b 2). One can see how being this fearless can come in to conflict with the happiness of a virtuous person. The main point where these two lifestyles come into conflict is dealing with the different types of goods. To be a courageous man, especially when it comes down to dying a noble death in battle, one must have goods of the body. One must be strong and healthy enough to do one's absolute best in battle, or they are not using their full potential. To live the virtuous life, one must have external goods. For example, if one wants to be virtuous by giving to charity, one must have external goods such as money.

When discussing the high-minded man and his pursuit of honor, one must establish how necessary honor is. Aristotle states, "Honor fits that description, for it is the greatest of all external goods. Consequently, it is in matters of honor and dishonor that a high-minded man has the right attitude."(bk 4, 1123b, 19-22) Aristotle defines the high-minded man as someone who feels that they deserve honor and are correct in their assumption. While these men do deserve honor, and it is what they strive for most, honor is not considered a perfect virtue because it is instilled by other men through...
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