Book X: Aristotle's Claim of Contemplation as Complete Happiness
In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, he is not trying to prove a Supreme Principle or a Rule to follow as a Utilitarian or a person of Deontology would suggest but rather, Aristotle is concerned with virtue ethics; a cultivation of character to be morally good. He does reach the conclusion that happiness is the final end that human beings are trying to achieve, and the activity of contemplation is the most complete happiness. Secondly, to further give reasoning as to why contemplation is superior over deliberation, a discussion of the relationship between philosophical wisdom and practical wisdom will be mentioned. In conclusion, Aristotle's argument claims that moral life is a secondary happiness to contemplation. He gives evidential reasoning which will be discussed to show that he does not undermine his Virtue Ethics by making this claim.
Because Aristotle is basing his argument on virtue ethics, he is not trying to derive a rule but, deriving a good person. An overall good human should possess character-traits to be a morally good person. To start his argument, it must be mentioned that he begins by stating that, "Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good: and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim...if, then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this), and if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else (for at that rate the process would go on to infinity, so that our desire would be empty and vain), clearly this must be the good and the chief good." (Aristotle, pg. 124) In Book X, Aristotle reiterates that the final end of all activity is this chief good and this chief good is happiness.
Aristotle then, gives his Function Argument. When we know what that function is, then and only then...
Cited: "Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics." Ethics: History, Theory, and Contemporary Issues. Trans. W. D. Ross. New York: Oxford UP, 2012. 124-77. Print. Books I-BookX.
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