Kantianism Theory Versus Eudaimonia Theory Essay

1568 words - 7 pages

In Aristotelian ethics, the end game for an individual is to achieve eudaimonia, the highest form of morality in which one has achieved true happiness, by completely actualizing their potential and living a virtuous life. n I found the concept of eudaimonia interesting, and I noticed that many moral theories focused on happiness as a measure of morality yet Kantianism did not so I wanted to take a deeper look at the fundamental differences between the two theories and determine if there was a superior theorist. In my paper I look to see if there is a Kantian equivalent of eudaimonia, or a desired end result to Kantianism and in the process compare and contrast the two theories to determine which one offers a more realistic solution to the question of what defines virtue.

Aristotle and Kant have profoundly differing ethical viewpoints, specifically on what exactly defines virtue. Immediately I noticed a profound difference between the somewhat more modern take on ethics that Kant provides as compared to the possibly somewhat antiquated views of Aristotle.

In Nichomean Ethics, Aristotle questions what exactly good is. Aristotle cites some typical examples such as being happy, wholesome and respected amongst your peers, he beleives that “mens conception of the good or of happiness can be read in the lives that they lead.” (Vaughn 84) Aristotles argument is continued by getting to the origin of every good activity. He remarked that if a man kept wondering which actions were good, he would find that every good activity lead to some end result of joy. Due to this a man can further his joy by drawing examples from his own life. For example, if a man is sick, he desires for good wellbeing, because it is what he accepts as true will bring him joy. Although there are many extremely different types of good, he believed that there was an ultimate good. A good attractive in itself and not as a means to an end.

Aristotle believed there was a purest form of good known as "eudaimonia", or joyfulness, he says “happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with perfect virtue” (Vaughn 85).In order to reach eudaimonia one must take advantage of every virtue is his life. Aristotle describes virtue as a mans excitement and willingness to proceed with excellence in every situation in his life. Aristotle believed that true good was defined as the mean between two extremes of excess and deficiency. There is a multitude of ways that a man can find the greatest good through being virtuous. Aristotle defines virtue roughly because each man is unique so no one set way can fit every man. Each man has a uniquely different personality and set of morals. Aristotle said that an overly generous individual on one who has a surplus in giving and a deficiency in taking will end up penniless. In order to find the mean in his situation he should act somewhat like a man who is stingy. A man must display all of these virtuous attributes in the exact correct...

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