Aristototle: Nicomachean Ethics Essay

1870 words - 8 pages

Aristotle:Nicomachean Ethics
Jonathan Rodriguez

I. Introduction
Aristotle is considered to be one of the greatest philosophical thinkers of all time. His writings compose of searching 'what is the purpose of life' and 'function of man'. His goal was to know what makes a person’s life well and how we get there. Aristotle believes that the nature of morality is grounded in the function of persons, meaning that we must act in order to become happy and fulfilled. What are the functions of persons and how does one acquire virtue? To live a good life is to aim towards living a good life by acquiring habits that make one become good by doing good. Essentially human activity is aimed towards ...view middle of the document...

Our function is to be good and achieve happiness as our final end, we use things such as money and food to accomplish security and nutrition, but true happiness is what makes a man excellent according to Aristotle. So happiness isn't some other thing we need to identify and seek, it is the reason we do things. It's the aim of all our activities, we're always seeking it, and it's self-sufficient. “Let us exclude, therefore, the life of nutrition and growth. Next there would be a life of perception, but it also seems to be shared even by the horse, the ox, and every animal. There remains, then, an active life of the element that has a rational principle . . . . Now if the function of man is an activity of soul which follows or implies a rational principle and if . . . any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence . . . human good turns out to be activity of soul exhibiting excellence . . .” (115) As I mentioned before, means such as food and money are not what make men happy, it keeps us living. Aristotle has illustrated that humans must act in order to become good, we must use our reasoning in order to exhibit our excellence in life. However this takes practice and much effort on part of the human as in order to exhibit excellence it must do so through a state of doing by taking action. In every human there is greatness that exists in some shape or form. For example most actors just don’t have innate ability to act well, an actor that exhibits excellent reasoning would go through years of interviews, classes, and many attempts of small roles until he or she land's the big one that makes them the next big actor. This is how humans are to act to exhibit excellence by constant trial and error until they have mastered their craft or talent. It takes hours and days to master your craft or talent to develop true skill. Humans have the capacity to be able to act in accordance with their ends. Any rational being would agree that the final good is happiness. Who doesn’t want to be happy? It is what most people spend their lives searching for and how one could measure how well they lived. By how much happy they were during their lifetime. Aristotle claims that we have to learn how to become happy before attempting to become happy, and this is done through continuous acts of doing to acquire these habits. The habit of acting good in accordance to the soul is how humans are ought to function in life and what our purpose in life is.
III. The Connection between virtue and the functionalist account of persons.
Again, to achieve overall happiness is not done by achieving a single moment of happiness. “But we must add “in a complete life.” For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does one day; and so too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy. . . .” (115). For Aristotle virtue is what allows a man to accomplish his purpose well. What makes a good human? Well, what sets us apart...

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