Happiness and Morality
In this paper, I will argue that happiness and morality have a relationship. Aristotle believes that morality is what leads to happiness, despite an objection from Immanuel Kant.
Happiness and morality have a relationship because one must lead to the other. According to Aristotle in his book Nicomachean Ethics, chapters one through nine define happiness as the virtuous action of the soul. On the contrary, in chapter ten, happiness is described as contemplation. Happiness is connected with morality because it is a result of living a life that abides to a set of morals. The highest form of happiness is contemplation. Therefore, through morality, contemplation can be reached, in turn leading to happiness.
However, Immanuel Kant would disagree with Aristotle on the grounds of what happiness means. He defined happiness as pleasure that leads to a moral will. Kant would argue that there is no relationship between morality and happiness because actions are not based on morality. This is so because he believes that intentions are what determine an action. For example, Kant would say that the intention behind stealing a loaf of bread would be more important than the action itself. Kant would also disagree with Aristotle in regard to consistency. For example, he could point out how Aristotle has two different views on happiness. What would be included is a criticism of Aristotle’s use of defining happiness in one area in Nicomachean Ethics and using a different definition in another.
I will now argue about why Kant is wrong on Aristotle’s behalf. Kant is wrong because morality has to have some presence in actions. A rebuttal will be the connection between the definitions used by Aristotle. By having morals incorporated in practice, contemplation can be reached, thus presenting a relationship between morality and happiness.
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