Pleasurable Amusements Essay

1108 words - 4 pages

According to Aristotle, the good life is the happy life, as he believes happiness is an end in itself. In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle develops a theory of the good life, also known as eudaimonia, for humans. Eudaimonia is perhaps best translated as flourishing or living well and doing well. Therefore, when Aristotle addresses the good life as the happy life, he does not mean that the good life is simply one of feeling happy or amused. Rather, the good life for a person is the active life of functioning well in those ways that are essential and unique to humans. Aristotle invites the fact that if we have happiness, we do not need any other things making it an intrinsic value. In contrast, things such as money or power are extrinsic valuables as they are all means to an end. Usually, opinions vary as to the nature and conditions of happiness. Aristotle argues that although ‘pleasurable amusements’ satisfy his formal criteria for the good, since they are chosen for their own sake and are complete in themselves, nonetheless, they do not make up the good life since, “it would be absurd if our end were amusement, and we laboured and suffered all our lives for the sake of amusing ourselves.”
Happiness can be viewed as wealth, honour, pleasure, or virtue. Aristotle believes that wealth is not happiness, because wealth is just an economic value, but can be used to gain some happiness; wealth is a means to further ends. The good life, according to Aristotle, is an end in itself. Similar to wealth, honour is not happiness because honour emphases on the individuals who honour in comparison to the honouree. Honour is external, but happiness is not. It has to do with how people perceive one another; the good life is intrinsic to the person who leads it. Pleasure is not happiness because, "the life of gratification" is "completely slavish, since the life they decide on is the life for grazing animals." Aristotle will uphold the fact that the good life is the most pleasurable life. Nevertheless, it is not to say that the pleasure seeker’s life is the good life. Instead, persons who pursue pleasure veer towards seeking it in the wrong places. In turn, they are distracted from leading the good life. Lastly, virtue is also not considered happiness as an individual can be virtuous, but not make use of its virtue. In its place, Aristotle argues that happiness is a combination of the aforementioned aspects. Hence, Aristotle defines the good life by stating, "the happy person is one who expresses complete virtue in his activities, with an adequate supply of external goods, not just for any time but for a complete life." Virtue is a crucial element of the good life as stated by Aristotle. The good life then, cannot be recognized with virtue since simply being virtuous is consistent with leading an inactive life or with suffering greatly.
Therefore, the good life consists of moral and intellectual virtue, a certain measure of goods, and friendship....

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