Hap Py Ness Essay

1314 words - 5 pages

Happiness is a word known to everyone but not felt by everybody. I know it’s kind of ironic since being happy is what everyone wants but unfortunately not all the time we experience this feeling. Why is this so? Before answering that question, first we should define what happiness is. What does this word really mean? To help me with this I will be using the views of 3 philosophers, particularly Aristotle, St. Augustine, and Mill, regarding happiness. I will also try to choose, among their views, which will best explain the standard of morality.Based on Aristotle’s view on happiness, there are factors that brought about happiness in an individual. First is virtue. As what I know, virtue is somewhat similar with righteousness. For Aristotle, in order for an individual to acquire happiness he must possess the needed virtue or righteousness and goodness. He must be able to stand up for what he believes in. Honesty and uprightness are also a must. Aside from virtue, obtaining happiness also depends upon wealth, pleasure and the opportunity for leisure. For Aristotle, leisure hours should not be spent in the cultivation of any art, as he considers that artistic craftsmanship belongs to the field of manual labor, and that professional skill in any of the arts is considered a disgrace to a free citizen. The ideal life, from Aristotle's point of view, seems to be one which is given over entirely to intellectual research and contemplation -- the life of a cultivated and reflective country gentlemen, remote from the workaday world.Another view on happiness is given by St. Augustine of Hippo. All people want to be happy, but how do people know of happiness? For Augustine, true happiness can only be found with God. Happiness, according to Augustine is to be identified with knowing and loving God. All the while, human beings mistake earthly happiness for the happiness found in God; people hide from this truth and so become miserable. God is not a sense of perception, an emotion, or even the mind itself, but God remains in the memory. As with Aristotle, Augustine’s conception of the good life is the life of contemplation and rational understanding. But in Aristotle at least, the good life is a matter of functioning in accordance with human nature. For Augustine, it is knowledge and love of the supernatural that yields happiness. The person is incomplete in the natural world. Merely functioning well in nature is not sufficient for human happiness. Rather we must seek happiness by going beyond the natural world.Augustine is particularly famous with his ethical theory which identifies the four things that we people can love: physical objects, other people, ourselves, and most importantly, GOD. Since all things are created by God and God is good, all things must themselves be good. So all of the things we can love are appropriate objects of love. Augustine also emphasized that all the things that we can love are capable of somehow giving us the...

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