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Aristotle And The Human Good This Is An Essay On Aristotles Arguement That Happiness Is The Highest End Of Human Good. I Argue Against His Points And Give Details Why

1179 words - 5 pages

Aristotle and The Human GoodIn book I, Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle argues the highest end is the human good, and claims that the highest end pursued in action is happiness, "What is the highest of all goods pursued in action...most people virtually agree, since both the many and the cultivated call it happiness"(pg. 198 ll.1095a 15-20). 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 to not have reason hence he is basically putting them at the level of animals and proving his own argument faulty.He does not leave room for error in his theory as he considers his theory "absolute" and final. By doing so Aristotle is making a very bold assumption that there hasn't been a single child or animal that has ever or ever will experience happiness, in this case meaning a "flourishing life". This is drastically going out on a limb as one may argue that a child that knows the good and happiness is able to comprehend and have full reason of happiness. A child knows between right and wrong even if they do not make it apparent at a tender age. This said why would a child not be able to achieve happiness then? To say that a child cannot have reason but state that what separates man from animal is reason is contradictory. Aristotle's characterization of the human good and happiness and the flaws within it are written as follows:Aristotle argues that there is some ultimate good that is both complete and self-sufficient, and defines this good as happiness. He claims every human action aims at some good, and the good that is chosen for its own sake rather than as means to an end is the highest good. However, he does state that we do choose some goods for something else, which in turn makes that end incomplete since "the best good is apparently something complete"(pg. 204 ll. 1097a 27). Moreover, Aristotle suggests ethics is a part of politics, which is the most authoritative and structural science. An inquiry into ethics should not be expected to have the same sort of precision as a mathematical inquiry, because the nature of the subject matter is different. Therefore while one should expect perfect precision in a subject like mathematics, one should not expect ethics to be so exact, or doubt the validity of conclusions about ethics because their precision is not at the level of mathematical precision. A proper student of ethics must already have substantial life experience and training in virtue, otherwise he will not profit from the subject because he is more inclined to listen to his passions than to reason.Aristotle argues that the highest good is happiness, which means living well. He points out that happiness...

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