Hughes, Gerald J. Aristotle addressed happiness and what leads to a happy life in his Nicomachean Ethics. As Aristotle writes, He is happy who lives in accordance with complete virtue and is sufficiently equipped with external goods, not for some chance period but throughout a complete life. all act for what they believe to be good. Here we see a higher level of life emerge: animals seek pleasure and reproduction, and we can talk about a happy or sad dog, for example, to the extent that they are healthy and lead a pleasant life. Flashcards. Aristotle was the founder of the Lyceum, the first scientific institute, based in Athens, Greece. This type of friendship is long lasting and tough to obtain because these types of people are hard to come by and it takes a lot of work to have a complete, virtuous friendship. Happiness is understandable, obtainable, and teachable. In conclusion, according to Aristotle, what is happiness? A popular exposition for the general reader. Ackrill, J. As I look back from her, I see that yes I am happy with the choices I have made to this point. The individual needs to be naturally a ‘virtuous’ person, rather than just acting accordingly. According to Aristotle, happiness is the highest good and the ultimate end goal—for it is self-reliant. We will not achieve happiness simply by enjoying the pleasures of the moment. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very difficult. The key question Aristotle seeks to answer in these lectures is “What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?” What is that end or goal for which we should direct all of our activities? How does Aristotle define happiness? What do you understand by the term “happiness”, and how is this different from Aristotle’s conception? According to Aristotle, the functions of a human being is. And of this nature happiness is mostly thought to be, for this we choose always for its own sake, and never with a view to anything further: whereas honour, pleasure, intellect, in fact every excellence we choose for their own sakes, it is true, but we choose them also with a view to happiness, conceiving that through their instrumentality we shall be happy: but no man chooses happiness with a view to them, nor in fact with a view to any other thing whatsoever. To be an ultimate end, an act must be self-sufficient and final, “that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1097a30-34), and it must be attainable by man. According to Aristotle, this view of education is necessary if we are to produce a society of happy as well as productive individuals. Online Nicomachean Ethics: https://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html, Aristotle’s Ethics. For example, a medical student’s goal may be to qualify as a doctor, but this goal is subordinate to his goal to heal the sick, which is itself subordinate to his goal to make a living by doing something useful. TWEET. Essentially, Aristotle argues that virtue is achieved by maintaining the Mean, which is the balance between two excesses. For Aristotle the term eudaimonia, which is translated as 'happiness' or 'flourishing' is an activity rather than an emotion or a state. Aristotle further defines happiness as something deeper than temporary excitement, distraction, or pleasure. According to Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods — health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. When we impose a form and order upon all those letters to actually produce a compelling story or essay, we are manifesting our rational potential, and the result of that is a sense of deep fulfillment. These terms play an … To Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods; health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. Not only humans but beasts and plants too have souls, intrinsic principles of animal and vegetable life. He was the first to devise a formal system for reasoning, whereby the validity of an argument is determined by its structure rather than its content. Aristotle tells us that the most important factor in the effort to achieve happiness is to have a good moral character — what he calls “complete virtue.” But being virtuous is not a passive state: one must act in accordance with virtue. A comprehensive introduction to Aristotle. According to Aristotle, happiness is the highest goal of a human being, because it is the only goal that is an end in itself, and is not pursued for the sake of something else. Happiness is, therefore, the ultimate “non-relative good”, and we choose other “relative goods” for the sake of our happiness. Aristotle's idea of virtue as the mean states that. I write a lot about happiness and am very intrigued by Aristotle and his teachings. activity of the soul in accord with reason. Gravity. The main trouble is that happiness (especially in modern America) is often conceived of as a subjective state of mind, as when one says one is happy when one is enjoying a cool beer on a hot day, or is out “having fun” with one’s friends. 4. The healthy path is the “middle path,” though remember it is not exactly the middle, given that people who are born with extremely passionate natures will have a different mean than those with sullen, dispassionate natures. For Aristotle, it is by understanding the distinctive function of a thing that one can understand its essence. Aristotle defines happiness (eudaemonia) as. Ross, Sir David (1995). Hence it is a goal and not a temporary state. Yet, inevitably, this short-term pleasure will lead to longer term pain. I really like this piece in terms of style and content and in short demonstrates the brilliance of an ancient thinker and his effect on society that will live on. Although we do not actually possess any of Aristotle’s own writings intended for publication, we have volumes of the lecture notes he delivered for his students; through these Aristotle was to exercise his profound influence through the ages. For Aristotle, friendship is one of the most important virtues in achieving the goal of eudaimonia (happiness). Match. As he laments, “the mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1095b 20). The good for a human is different from the good for an animal because we have different capacities or potentialities. Both claim that happiness is a choice, and it can be achieved by living a good life. “If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.” – Aristotle . Neel Burton, M.D., is a psychiatrist, philosopher, and writer who lives and teaches in Oxford, England. — that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. In the early cosmologies, the Universe is stabilized as a result of the reconciliation between the opposing forces of Chaos and Order. Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the virtues of courage, generosity, justice, friendship, and citizenship in one’s life. Aristotle acknowledges that our good or bad fortune can play a part in determining our happiness; for example, he acknowledges that happiness can be affected by such factors as our material circumstances, our place in society, and even our looks. A few hours later you may feel miserable and so need to take the drug again, which leads to a never-ending spiral of need and relief. (2001). Here we see the flexibility in Aristotle’s account: as soon as he begins to lay down some moral rules, he relaxes them in order to take into consideration the variety and contingency of particular temperaments. Now, if one does this for some time, it soon becomes apparent that some goals are subordinate to other goals, which are themselves subordinate to yet other goals. Here we see a new kind of thing emerge,something which is alive. When Video Gaming Becomes a Disorder, Heaven and Hell: The Psychology of the Emotions. I understand that pursuit as it was originally written and in the context of happiness, was more about the practice of happiness, rather than the chasing after. In many cases the overwhelming prospect of some great pleasure obscures one’s perception of what is truly good. 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