Aristotle And The Highest Good

1775 words, 8 pages

Intro Sample...

Aristotle argues in, Nichomachean Ethics, that the highest end is the human good, and claims that happiness is the highest good for human beings, "What is the highest of all goods pursued in action...most people virtually agree, since both the many and the cultivated call it happiness"(Ross, p.2). Aristotle's argument is flawed when he suggests only human beings with full use of reason (not animals or even small children) can be considered happy because happiness is action in accordance with reason. Aristotle is contradicting himself in that he argues that what sets man apart from animal is reason and the ability to perform actions that only humans can perform. Yet, he is arguing that children do not have reason... View More »

Body Sample...

..happiness more than anything else seems complete without qualification, since we always choose it because of itself, never because of something else...honour, pleasure...we would choose each of them even if it had no further result; but we also choose them for the sake of happiness"(Ross, p.7-8). There is a dispute as to what constitutes happiness, whether it is pleasure, honor, health, wealth, knowledge or something else. If a student's ethical habits are not good, he will be hindered from accepting ethical knowledge. Some think that happiness is to be found in pleasure, others that it is to be found in honor, and others that it is to be found in contemplation. Aristotle clarifies these thoughts by suggesting that happiness is not found in living for pleasure because such a life is slavish. Nor is it found in seeking honor because honor depends not on the person but on what others think of him.
Aristotle says that good and happiness consist in pleasure, and consequently people are content with a life of mere enjoyment. I disagree with that, as there are so many people who abandon their pleasure and pleasurable things in life such as enjoyment. A monk gives up for a life of solitude and piety. A priest also gives up pleasure that he can have and decides to sacrifice his entire life to God. Are their lives with abstinence from pleasure happy as all human beings desire to be happy, the highest good? I do not think they become a monk or priest to pursue their happy life. A monk cannot be as happy as others if he does not have the same amount of pleasure. Then why he decides ...

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