Nichomachean Ethics Essay

1333 words - 5 pages

Aristotle finally takes the initiative as a philosopher to answer the question to what the purpose of life is. His response is happiness. The purpose of Aristotle’s theory is to achieve the greatest possible happiness by maintaining appropriate virtues. I agree with Aristotle’s goal of happiness and conclude to the idea of virtues which are virtuous states of character that affect our decision making.

Aristotle gives reasons to why he claims happiness to be the purpose of life. Aristotle believes happiness is the purpose of life because, a person, when giving reasons to why they make the decisions between multiple choices they will conclude to the same idea, which is, whichever choice allows that person to achieve the most happiness. Aristotle then concludes that, the foundation of our decision making is that people will base their moral decisions off the amount of enjoyment they receive compared to the trouble of performing the action. The root of our decision making must be a state of character within us, in this case, that weights our delights against our burdens.

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics deals with virtues of the soul. These virtues if maintained properly would allow a person to be truly happy. These virtues are states of character developed by habitual action, which are often times formed while we are emerging that will subsequently affect all of our moral decisions. A virtue’s state of character is concerned with choice; and not involuntary or non-voluntary actions. Just as how we do not deliberate about external things we also cannot be responsible for things that we cannot affect the consequences of, or are not within our ability to deter.

The voluntary, non-voluntary and the involuntary actions are all reviewed when studying the nature of virtues, however, Aristotle’s only concerned is the morality of free choice. Choice is voluntary. A voluntary action requires knowledge on the subjects that you’re choosing between; so one is responsible to seek knowledge. Aristotle also argues that any action done under compulsion or duress is not voluntary. The best measure of a person’s morality is found in there free choices. We also cannot judge actions that are done from fear of regarding consequences, because this action as well as compulsive actions can’t be deemed voluntary.

It’s not until we are free to choose without regard to fearful consequences that we may determine the morality of the person’s virtues. Aristotle believes a person’s choices are the best determiner of our character. Choice only relates to things that are within our own power. Also, it cannot be opinion because opinions incorporate aspects of unknowing and you cannot be distinguished by falsity.

Virtues arise from the just actions that cause the virtues; often times these virtues are learned from some sort of teacher. The virtue of Courage for instance is derived from doing courageous actions. This means that a person may become courageous not only...

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