Happiness As It Relates To Morality

1381 words - 6 pages

November 22nd, 2009The word philosophy was coined by noble Greek men as "the love of wisdom". In approximately 400 B.C., Greek men began to discover their dissatisfaction with supernatural and mythical explanations of reality-the only explanations available to them at the time. The noblemen began to suspect that there was a rational or logical order to the universe. Philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato and Socrates began an in-depth exploration of this theory of a rational and orderly world. Socrates was perhaps the most noble and wisest Athenian to have ever lived. He was a moral citizen on a constant quest for happiness, and conceived the term "eudaimonia", which means happiness by nature that arises from the fulfillment of our function as humans; in other words, living "the good life". Happiness and morality go hand in hand, as the good life consists of moral virtue, which is concerned with principals of right and wrong and conforming to standards of behavior. According to many philosophers, however, true 'morality' does not include selfishness or making exceptions in one's own favor just because it suits one to do so. A carefully executed examination is necessary to explore the relationship between morality and happiness, with the theory that most moral people are indeed happy, and that only a moral person can be truly happy because the good soul will live well, and to live well is to be happy.Many philosophers, as well as myself, are of the view that only a moral person can be truly happy. There is some truth to that, as Haidt's survey shows that the self-reported happiest people in the United States are Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians. His studies show that these two groups live in a cohesive community grounded on what they perceive to be an objective moral order (83). In this society, as long as one abides by the strict guidelines set out for them at birth, they will cause no problems for themselves or others and prosper, thus achieving happiness.One definition of happiness is the practice of virtue. In this sense, only the philosopher-in whom rationality reigns above all else-can achieve supreme happiness. Aristotle believed that the rational part of a philosopher's soul will lead him to his own good, and consequently the good of the entire community. The philosopher will agree to rule for the sake of the whole and produce more good or happiness than harm. This combination of ruling and philosophizing will constitute the very happiest life; that is, the life of complete moral excellence. For Aristotle, happiness for a community would be achieved by electing the most moral and rational to lead them (a philosopher).Plato agrees with Aristotle, as he declared that the just in a moral state will think and act in an absolutely impersonal way to achieve the common good. Through rationality, the philosophers will act to bring themselves and others as near as possible to a moral state, which in turn makes the society happy (Annas...

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