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Aristotle In "Nicomachean Ethics" Essay

1034 words - 4 pages

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 about what the good is, since both the many and the cultivated call it happiness."(1095a15-20 p. 6) 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.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."(1097a27, p. 14)Aristotle argues that the highest good is happiness, which means living well. He points out that happiness is something that we choose because of itself and is not reliant on anything else. He argues that happiness is complete on its own and is the ultimate end of which we all aim for: "...happiness more than anything else seems complete without qualification, since we always choose it, and also choose it because of itself, never because of something else...honor, pleasure...we would choose each of them even if it had no further result; but we also choose them for the sake of happiness."(1097b1-5, p. 15)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 mindless. Nor is it found in seeking honor because depends not on the person but what others think of him.All of the arguments up to this point have been taken from Book 1. But Aristotle also discussed happiness in Book 10. He describes happiness as a good activity and not amusement. For "it would indeed be strange if the end were amusement and one were to take trouble and suffer hardship all one's life in order to amuse...

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