Many people try to define and consider different definitions of what happiness is, and I think that Plato and Aristotle offer interesting views of happiness and what it means for one to live a good life. Both philosophers agree that happiness is an important factor in one’s life and essentially the essence of how to live a good life. Plato offers many theories and definitions of justice leading to happiness, while Aristotle argues that happiness is the main goal that all humans aim for in their entire life. Plato offers a philosophical view of a happy life for an individual by explaining a just state and what it would entail and also the theory of the forms that one must understand to achieve happiness. After learning about both philosophers, I have come to the conclusion that I agree with Aristotle’s view of happiness more because he gives us a broad outline of what a good life is. Although Plato was Aristotle’s mentor, Aristotle offers a view of happiness that is more plausible and relevant than Plato’s because it places a large emphasis on the idea of the function of a human being. Therefore, in this paper, I will argue that I agree with Aristotle’s view of happiness over Plato’s because of the way Aristotle describes how humans can achieve the greatest good in life: happiness.
Firstly, I would like to compare Plato’s theory of becoming a just person to achieve happiness, to Aristotle’s idea that the capacity of happiness relies on the surroundings we are raised in. In Plato’s Republic, he attempts to ask the question how does one live and what it takes to search for universal good life for all human beings and not just Athenians. Plato states that for one to be happy or a good person, they must act morally and participate in just activities. Justice is not stealing from one another and being honourable. When we harm others, we’re being unjust and we will not lead a moral life and therefore not be happy. For example, not stealing from a neighbour would make a person just and therefore happier than if they chose to steal. Plato’s focus was to have the majority of people of people in the world live just lives and live happily. If one acts justly toward one another, more people will be just and happy and therefore have a just community. Plato states that no one can be just alone, and that we need others to be just with. This view leads me to my next point of Aristotle’s view of mimicking others to become good human beings.
Aristotle thought that whatever is natural to humans in good and that we all aim for good which should bring us happiness. Aristotle states that it is easier for one to lead a happy life if they are surrounded by good role models. If we are surrounded by people that set good examples of happiness it will be easier for us to understand how to be good. For example, if one is born into a family that does not display good actions or does not live a balanced life, it is more difficult to live a happy life than the person that is born into a situation with good role models to mimic. However, mimicking others that lead happy lives is problematic because many people in the world do not live completely true happy lives, similar to Aristotle’s view of true friendship. Aristotle says that the human goal is one that we must recognize in order to understand how to have a good life. Therefore, I agree with Aristotle’s point that it makes a significant difference how we grow up when we have good influences to raise and us to become happy individuals. Plato’s view of happiness differs from Aristotle’s because he focuses on how one must become a just person which then leads to more rules about a just community, state, ruler, and finally the forms.
To further enforce Plato’s theory of justice, he tells us that to be just, we must be just with each other and therefore have a just community. All of this combined will give us happiness, but it doesn’t end there. Plato continues to say that a just community needs...
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