Aristotole: Happiness

Topics: Meaning of life, Science, Morality Pages: 2 (485 words) Published: May 17, 2006
Aristotle states that if all of our actions were a means to something else, then there would be nothing we would try to ultimately achieve, and life would be pointless. A highest good would solve this, but it must be a means to itself, self-sufficient and within reach. "Happiness, then, is apparently something complete and self-sufficient, since it is the end of things achievable in action." Happiness alone satisfies these, and thus is our highest good. Aristotle describes all beings as having a purpose or function in life, which separates us from other beings and must thus be unique. Living, for example is shared with plants, and can thus not be the function of a human being. Aristotle claims that this function is reason, or logos. "We have found, then, that the human function is activity of the soul in accord with reason or requiring reason." Aristotle goes on to say that if our function is completed well, it will lead us to our highest good (happiness). Consequently, our highest good (happiness) must be performing reason well.

Aristotle makes a major assumption in claiming that life must have some ultimate point, and that there is an ultimate explanation. Modern scientists believe that species do not exist specifically for a purpose, but exist as a result of natural selection and mutations. Aristotle does not address the fact that being rational as our function does not necessarily mean possessing moral virtues. Situations exist where, being rational and moral may conflict with each other.

Aristotle claims, "A human being by nature is a political animal" because nature has equipped us with speech, which allow us to form moral concepts like justice (through logos), which shape households and city-states. "For it is peculiar to human beings, in comparison to the other animals, that they alone have perception of what is good or bad, just or unjust, and the rest." Aristotle also states that a city-state exists by nature because it attains...
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