Aristotle and the good life

Aristotle and the good life

For Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking. For the same reason we cannot say that children are happy, any more than we can say that an acorn is a tree, for the potential for a flourishing human life has not yet been realized. Only humans are capable of acting according to principles, and in so doing taking responsibility for their choices. Other Internet Resources. Aristotle is not recommending that one should be moderate in all things, since one should at all times exercise the virtues. It is more like the ultimate value of your life as lived up to this moment, measuring how well you have lived up to your full potential as a human being. Justice is a mean between getting or giving too much and getting or giving too little. 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, a , and it must be attainable by man. Eventually, the virtue becomes a habit. We can blame Johnny for stealing the candy since he knows it is wrong, but we wouldn't blame an animal since it doesn't know any better. Living during the same period as Mencius, but on the other side of the world, he draws some similar conclusions. They will strive for self-improvement and will live their lives to the fullest. Developing a good character requires a strong effort of will to do the right thing, even in difficult situations. The Greek philosopher Heraclitus conceived of right living as acting in accordance with the Logos, the principle of the harmony of opposites; and Plato defined justice in the soul as the proper balance among its parts. Addiction inevitably drains your funds and provides a burden to your friends and family.

It lies between selfishness and selflessness. So, for Aristotle, a human lives well when he acts rightly and possesses all of the virtues, both intellectual and those relating to good character. Similarly for the moral virtues.

aristotle the good

We will not achieve happiness simply by enjoying the pleasures of the moment. Adler, Mortimer Google Scholar [11] Irwin, T.

What does aristotle say about the good life and the ingredients which can make us happy

Aristotle claims that nearly everyone would agree that happiness is the end which meets all these requirements. Courage, for example, is a mean regarding the feeling of fear, between the deficiency of rashness too little fear and the excess of cowardice too much fear. Adler, Mortimer In order to achieve the life of complete virtue, we need to make the right choices, and this involves keeping our eye on the future, on the ultimate result we want for our lives as a whole. 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. Developing a good character requires a strong effort of will to do the right thing, even in difficult situations. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very difficult. A classic overview by one of Aristotle's most prominent English translators, in print since What connects all of these character states is that these individuals possess reason and know the difference between good and bad behavior. Often the lesser good promises immediate pleasure and is more tempting, while the greater good is painful and requires some sort of sacrifice. Aristotle believes that the love of friendship is greater than this because it can be enjoyed as it is. Happiness requires intellectual contemplation, for this is the ultimate realization of our rational capacities. It is easy enough to see that we desire money, pleasure, and honor only because we believe that these goods will make us happy. Other Internet Resources.

What connects all of these character states is that these individuals possess reason and know the difference between good and bad behavior. The main source for Aristotle's ethics.

aristotle quotes on the good life

Aristotle situates ethics within the discussion of the best constitution.

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Aristotle on the Good Life and Quality of Life