Many philanthropists come up with their own views and theories about many aspects of life and nature. The conception of happiness is one aspect of nature among human beings that attracted major views by philanthropists. Aristotle, Mill and Bentham are the most notable philanthropists who focused on what happiness is to human beings. Aristotle’s view on happiness is about the good ends that can be achieved from actions. Mills view on happiness is having pleasure and freedom from pain. This paper compares and contrasts Aristotle’s conception of happiness with that of Mill and Bentham. The paper concludes with establishing which concept on happiness, between Aristotle and Mill, is more convincing.
Aristotle’s View on Happiness
In the book Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, every activity that a person does is usually aimed at some final result, which is considered a good aim (Aristotle 2; bk. 1). Human beings pursue ends for a certain goal that is taken as good. These ends can be products or activities. In most cases, products are usually considered better that the specific activities that produce them. Each and every action that is done usually has ends. For instance, the end of economic activities is wealth while the end medical art is health (Aristotle 2; bk. 1). These ends are examples of aims that have end results that are considered as good.
All human beings believe that the best thing, or the supreme good, in life is happiness. However, there is lots of disagreement on what comprises of happiness. Most people compare happiness with pleasure. However, different people have different views on what is good to them. Some people may take earning honors as their supreme good. However, honors are awarded to recognize goodness. Therefore, there appears to be greater good than honors. Nevertheless, the goods can give rise to problems that harm people. Men have commonly been undone by their own wealth while others have been undone by courage (Aristotle 2; bk. 1).
Happiness can be considered as the highest good. This is because happiness is chosen as an end that is sufficient. Every pursuit and all knowledge aims at some good (Aristotle 2; bk. 1). Thereby, intelligence and virtual may be considered as good by themselves and also because they bring happiness. More so, people can be perceived as good whenever they do their duties by using their knowledge wisely. A person who is perceived as good always behaves in a manner that is virtuous no matter the difficulties he or she may face at one point in life.
People tend to judge things by how they perceive them. A person who is educated in a certain subject can be a good judge in that specific subject (Aristotle 2; bk. 1). This shows that different people may judge different things differently. As such, something that is judged as good by one person may be judged as bad by another person. People may differ with respect to what happiness is (Aristotle 2; bk. 1). This demonstrates that what one...