Rationality and the Ethical Life-Aristotle and Kant

Topics: Ethics, Morality, Meaning of life Pages: 2 (572 words) Published: April 19, 2010
What is rationality and the ethical life? According to Aristotle and Kant, they have different views on what these two things mean. Aristotle explained that a virtuous activity has an intermediate position of excess and deficiency and also a mean relative to us. The definition of virtue is a mean, insofar, as it aims at what is intermediate. Aristotle listed ten virtues in his book that he saw as being most important in becoming a virtuous human being. Aristotle also explained that we must become who we are on our own. Kant explained that humanity is defined as being rational. It is our duty by nature to act morally because we are rational. We have absolute worth because we are human beings. Aristotle and Kant have many similarities and differences in their understandings of the ethical life. Aristotle explained that the virtuous life is the excellent life, which is the happy life, which is the rational life. To be rational, we must practice the ten virtues. Rationality is rooted in our actions. If we see someone doing something out of the norm, we usually conclude that they are irrational. Our actions play a huge role on what we believe in society to be rational or irrational. Aristotle’s understanding of the rational person is someone who practices the ten virtues in a public life because you cannot lead an excellent life if it is a private life. I agree with Aristotle because in order to become rational, you must practice these virtues while interacting with others. Aristotle also believes that the highest good is happiness. Happiness is the human function Happiness is the ultimate end for human beings and happiness alone makes life worth living. However, we must achieve our own happiness by doing something with excellence. Aristotle explains that in order to lead an ethical life, we must leada rational life. Humans are born with the capabilityof becoming virtuous. We must become who we are. Kant explains that because we are human we are rational. All...
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