For instance, generosity is only possible if we have an excess of resources and other citizens to receive our generosity. We only find a happy life if we find our most appropriate pleasure as rational beings. 1. Aristotle then tells us that life is an activity and, as is true with all activities, pleasure should be the natural end for life. For Aristotle, happiness is not synonymous with pleasure; it is rather a kind of self-fulfillment. Aristotle then tells us that life is an activity and, as is true with all activities, pleasure should be the natural end for life. It was once believed that all you really needed to know about Western philosophy could be found within the pages of Plato’s. By pursuing wisdom and a life of study, we become closer to the gods, divine in our own small way. Comment by Pieter J De Kooker on July 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm, Cyrenaic Hedonism: A Life in Pursuit of Pleasure, Valentine's Day Advice from Aristotle: Love Yourself. Youth playing the flute and riding a dolphin. If I were to find myself lost in the desert, with millions of dollars in my briefcase, I would sooner burn the money to attract the attention of a passing jet liner rather than carry around so much. Every human being can practise a way of life that will make him happier. More precisely, pleasure is the thing that completes an activity. Happiness results when one completes or serves one’s function in society, and … However, the Stoics believed that we ought to pursue wisdom for the sake of duty. Additionally, we need not accept the divine cosmology of the Stoics in order to live a good life. While other virtues require others to receive the bounty, wisdom is desirable in itself. Aristotle – Happiness Happiness Aristotle – Happiness Essay, Research Paper Happiness is the Greatest Good In Aristotle s essay, he focuses particularly on how reason, our rational capacity, should help us recognize and pursue what will lead to happiness and the good life. This is unsurprising since many are corrupted by evils and selfish desires. The lover of philosophy will find the activity of philosophizing pleasurable, the lover of music will find music to be pleasurable, and so on. Aristotle on Happiness A Little Background Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the history of western science and philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. But this, rather obviously, leads us to another question: What is the appropriate pleasure? Why do you want to be happy? “Happiness is activity.” – Aristotle. With every answer I give, you could then ask me once more, ‘why?’ After some time of this, I guarantee that eventually I will tell you “… because I want to be happy.” If you were to ask me again why I want to be happy, I would immediately stop talking to you and walk away. One of Aristotle's best-known works is "Nicomachean Ethics." The problem then becomes the question of how to achieve happiness. In conclusion, according to Aristotle, what is happiness? Remember that happiness is intrinsically good. To do this, Aristotle asks us to imagine a hypothetical man who is perfect in every way imaginable. You may be tempted to say that there is not final cause, no ultimate end at which we aim. Aristotle and the bust of Homer by Rembrant, Tags: Aristotle, Happiness, Money, Nicomachean Ethics, Philosophy. If we were to continue on this line of questioning about why I write, you could ask why I want a cozy apartment or the respect of my employers. Happiness in general terms is a belief, an idea and a theory. For Aristotle, Eudaimonia is an activity, not a state of mind. Therefore, it might not be a bad idea to acquire some wealth so that you can afford things like groceries or a studio apartment. Pleasure is undeniably the motivation behind many actions, but it puts humans on the level of animals. Aristotle’s take . He was a student of Plato who in turn studied under Socrates. Aristotle, rather simply, tells us that we ought to pursue wisdom because it will make us happiest. 3. The activity of study aims at no thing beyond itself and is pleasurable by its very nature. Instead, he asserts that pleasure is an activity, something that we do. You may now be realizing that Aristotle and the Stoics arrived at similar conclusions. So there remains only one virtue that is desirable in itself, complete and eternally fulfilling. Happiness is a life in pursuit of wisdom. Aristotle and happiness contend that good, moral statesmen always took the happiness and welfare … Disclaimer Terms of Publication Privacy Policy and Cookies Sitemap RSS Contact Us, Our five-week-long inquiry into ancient moral philosophy naturally culminates with Aristotle and his philosophical text known as the. The answer, it would seem, is that we just do. We ought to pursue that which is most important, most pleasurable, and most divine. They make take pleasure in harming others, for instance. 31. We need not consider these people, for they misunderstand true happiness and are flawed for this reason. Aristotle is something of a pragmatic thinker and so he admits that while wealth will never bring you true happiness, one still has to eat. A generous person, similarly, needs an abundance or resources so that he might give them to others in need. This ideal human would find pleasure in that which is most perfect. This life, then, will also be happiest.” -Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics). Practicing positive behavioral habits is how one grasps the overall purpose of human life. If you were to ask me why I write philosophy newsletters, I would undoubtedly give you an answer. According to Aristotle happiness is an end, an end result of all the things a person does. Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the vir… In this case, an activity in accordance with virtue, exercised over a lifetime in the presence of a sufficient number of external goods. Disclaimer Terms of Publication Privacy Policy and Cookies Sitemap RSS Contact Us, While the works of Aristotle are numerous, detailed, and profound in their own ways, it is arguable that the philosopher’s most notable contributions are in the realm of Ethics. If a pursuit of wisdom is truly the happiest of lives, then it is perhaps unsurprising that after accumulating great wealth, and raising a beautiful family, so many people find themselves returning to study, the activity that is supremely pleasant. A being is happy when it acts according to its nature, achieving the highest perfection about it. Of all virtues that we could possibly choose to constitute our happy lives, Aristotle tells us there is one above all others that prevails. There may certainly be others who would disagree with the excellent person. The excellent person is something of a hypothetical, for it is very unlikely we could ever find one single, perfect, person. Aristotle distinguished two kinds of happiness, one is happiness that worth pursuing, and the other is happiness that not worth pursuing. Aristotle points out that happiness is the ultimate end of human beings; and, it is complete and self-sufficient. Red-figure stamnos, 360–340 BC. Aristotle makes a point that some virtues are self-sufficient while other virtues require external things in order for that virtue to be realized. ~. A shipbuilder, insofar as he is a shipbuilder, will inevitably find pleasure in building ships. Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. Since reason is what separates humanity from animals, its … Aristotle asserts ideas that are reminiscent of the Stoics, the hedonists believed bodily pleasures were our ticket to a happy life, Aristotle also did not agree with the Ethical Egoists, the most accessible and the most all-encompassing of the moral philosophies, #CancelCulture: Lessons from the Ancient World (PART 2) | Classical Wisdom Weekly, Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. This idea corresponds very well to earlier Aristotelian essays where the philosopher describes a human being as being a rational animal. While variables may interfere with our abilities to be generous or just, there is no reason why we should ever stop pursuing wisdom. 5. Expressing virtue is the most excellent of activities and so it would be loved most of all by this excellent person. Aristotle says that the eudaimon life is one of "virtuous activity in accordance with reason" [1097b22–1098a20]; even Epicurus, who argues that the eudaimon life is the life of pleasure, maintains that the life of pleasure coincides with the life of virtue. Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one's life. Finally, after so much consideration, we receive our answer, friends. While it is often said that money cannot buy happiness, we can certainly agree that a deficiency of money can certainly bring miseries. What is this pleasure that is most noble and honorable? The father of Western philosophy once prompted us to live an examined life; to explore and endeavor to discover the true depths of our wisdom and to never falter in our pursuit of understanding and truth. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very challenging. We must not listen to those who urge us to think human thoughts since we are human, and mortal thoughts since we are mortal; rather, we should as far as possible immortalize ourselves and do all we can to live according to the finest element within us—for if it is small in bulk, it is far greater than anything else in power and worth. 4. Aristotle believed that statesmen were concerned about the happiness of the people living in their community. “…what is proper to each things nature is supremely best and pleasantest for it; and hence for a human being the life expressing understanding will be supremely best and pleasantest, if understanding above all is the human being. To Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods; health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. Aristotle begins the Nicomachean Ethics by asking what the final good for human beings is. Aristotle’s philosophy is based upon systematic logic and empirical observations that many would agree with. “If this is correct, as it seems to be, and virtue, i.e., the good person insofar as he is good, is the measure of each thing, then what appears as pleasures to him will also BE pleasures. He states that the gods are most assuredly all-knowing, and so by pursuing a life of wisdom we come closer to the divine. Aristotle in his work Nicomachean Ethics said that human actions are necessary to realize the ultimate good — happiness or eudaimonia. So we have seen that pleasure is the natural end of an activity. He wrote on many subjects covering a wide range of topics; politics, psychology, metaphysics, logic and ethics. Man is characterized by reason and be happy when you live according to it, i.e., when engaged in intellectual activities. Aristotle was speaking of lasting happiness, that which does not dissipate easily with time. Finding the appropriate pleasure for our lives means arriving at a happy life, which Aristotle believed was synonymous with a good life. For Aristotle, happiness is to achieve the perfection of human nature, so if you want to know which is the happiness we have to do an analysis of human nature. “Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” The meaning of the quote is often difficult to understand. Happiness is the first thing examined in Nicomachean Ethics. Believe it or not, not all virtues are created equal. We pursue other goods to achieve happiness, but happiness is valuable in itself. Aristotle, in Greek, said as – Aristotélēs was a great Greek philosopher and a polymath. I might tell you that I get paid to do this, or that I have an obligation that I wish to fulfill. 52 Aristotle Quotes on Life, Inspiration, Happiness and more Who was Aristotle ? Also, we would have to be sure that the object of the activity (the ship) is constructed from appropriate materials that are in good condition. Aristotle says that if happiness is not god-sent, ‘then it comes as the result of a goodness, along with a learning process, and effort’. – Aristotle. This idea that a life of study will bring us happiness falls very closely to the ideas of Socrates. Happiness is desirable in itself and requires no external goods in order to be appreciated. Happiness is found in acts. That would beg the question, ‘why do anything at all?’ Aristotle argues that there must be a final end to our actions. Aristotle considers wisdom to be, in some ways, divine, for it is believed that the gods are happiest of all. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very challenging. Justice, although important, requires other citizens to receive our just acts. Before we go on (and we undoubtedly will), we must address some common misunderstandings. Whatever pleasures are enjoyed by this most excellent person will be the truest and most excellent of all pleasures. Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason. Money will not bring you happiness. That still leaves the rather obvious question, “what is happiness?” Modern readers often get bogged down when considering this idea. From Etruria. Receiving money or living up to obligations is good, but they are only good insofar as they can get you other things such as a cozy apartment or the respect of your employers. Aristotle — ‘Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’ Therefore, these things are not good in themselves, but only good in that they allow us to receive other things. Still, if you are going to sob, it will be much more comfortable while sitting in a Mercedes Benz rather than on a public bus.”. Our ability to learn and our penchant for wisdom make us divine in our own rights; and it is only though the expression of our supreme element that we may truly be happy. Aristotle concludes that pleasure is not a process or a state of being. Tags: Aristotle, Classical Ethics, ethical egoism, Ethics, Happiness, hedonism, Moral philosophy, Pleasure, Seneca, Stoic, Stoicism, Virtue, virtue ethics. If you are to disagree with the excellent person, then you are just wrong. If we can conclude both of these things, then we can safely assume that the shipbuilder will be capable of building his ship; at the completion of this activity, there will be pleasure. Epicurus: The Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life, The Goal of Happiness: A summary of Nicomachean Ethics, Cyrenaic Hedonism: A Life in Pursuit of Pleasure, Aristotle The Philosopher who Knew it All, The Pursuit Of Virtue: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, While we may be hesitant to dismiss the numerous other philosophical contributions so quickly, Otherwise, we would find ourselves stuck in an infinite regression. “If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.” – Aristotle . © 2020 Classical Wisdom Limited. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC; the alabaster mantle is a modern addition. 30th of 69 Aristotle Quotes “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle . He defines “the good as what everything seeks.” Also, there are different degrees … If we were to examine a shipbuilder, for example, we would first have to conclude that the shipbuilder is appropriately healthy and suitably prepared to partake in the activity of shipbuilding. And so we seem to have concluded that finding the appropriate pleasure within our lives as human beings will lead us to happiness, which will lead us to a good life. Whatever things are truly pleasant, they will be enjoyed by him.” -Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics). Aristotle asserts that goods are ends of actions. Surprisingly, Aristotle takes a page from Protagoras of all people, Happiness Is… – Classical Wisdom Weekly | MENADEL PSICOLOGÍA Clínica y Transpersonal Tradicional (Pneumatología), Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. ; that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. Additionally, learning is the one activity that we may consistently do throughout our lives. A just person, although very admirable, still needs other people to receive his just actions. Bust of Aristotle. A happy life and a good life are synonymous. Our most appropriate pleasure is the active expression of virtue. 28. The good human life, he held, must consist primarily of whatever activity is characteristically human, and that is reasoning. © 2020 Classical Wisdom Limited. We need no other reason than this. All Rights Reserved. Both tell us that a life in pursuit of wisdom is the best type of life. For Aristotle, acquiring happiness is the same thing as “living the good life.” Okay then, fine, whatever…Now you may be asking yourself, “what is the good … Different people will certainly enjoy different activities more than others. There are indeed some qualifications to the universal capacity for pursuing happiness. Aristotle is not offering a magic wand to erase all threats to happiness. Aristotle concludes the Ethics with a discussion of the highest form of happiness: a life of intellectual contemplation. Aristotle proclaims, “Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action (Aristotle 129). Finally, we must ask, which virtue is the truest, the most honorable, and the noblest? Virtues such as these are not self-sufficient. All of our suffering and our struggles must be an attempt to arrive at some final good that is intrinsically desirable. That’s very true because everybody has a need to be good with something. Just like other theories, beliefs, and ideas may have fallacies, the theory of happiness might too. Then we arrive at wisdom, which requires nothing external to be realized. He identifies this final good with happiness, and in the rest of Book I, asks what happiness is. All Rights Reserved. We may pursue wisdom for our own pleasure and we require nobody else to have this virtue realized. They want one to live a broken life…, Happiness for me is in acting, growing and becoming matured in something, or somethings because one must not limit oneself to one thing: one must evolve, develop because that’s one’s true nature. Finding the appropriate pleasure for our lives means arriving at a happy life, which Aristotle believed was synonymous with a good life. Plato offers many theories and definitions of justice leading to happiness, while Aristotle argues that happiness is the main goal that all humans aim for in their entire life. The School of Athens by Raphael (1509–1510), fresco at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City. that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. He was from the Great classical period and of Ancient Greece. According to Aristotle, the lover of music can even find pleasure playing the flute on the back of a dolphin! Aristotle’s view of happiness is linked with his views of the good. It is the exercise of virtue. Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. Nevertheless, it is clear that Aristotle thought everyone would be able to find happiness. Aristotle also appeals to the gods to make his case for a life in pursuit of wisdom. Aristotle first recognizes that happiness is the ultimate good, since all other goods are intermediate while happiness is final. Both philosophers agree that happiness is an important factor in one’s life and essentially the essence of how to live a good life. Another youthful work, the Protrepticus (“Exhortation”), has been reconstructed by modern scholars from quotations in various works from late antiquity. Instead, the philosopher urges us not to settle for mediocrity. For Aristotle, acquiring happiness is the same thing as “living the good life.” Okay then, fine, whatever…Now you may be asking yourself, “what is the good life,” wringing your hands in unbridled anticipation. To Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods; health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. Aristotle spent years trying to find the ultimate purpose of human existence and the goal people should strive for. Of all the virtues the gods may possess, eternal and complete wisdom is the most fundamental and powerful. The self-sufficiency of happiness makes that life is desirable when isolated and as the most desirable thing that can be achieved. In the article “Nature of Virtue” written by Aristotle, his theory of a persons happiness and good morals is explained. Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue and Happiness Aristotle was one of the most respected philosophers of all time. According to Aristotle, the dead are more blessed and happier than the living, and to die is to return to one’s real home. Aristotle does note that some may disagree with this, saying that we are mortal and should, therefore, think mortal thoughts; he dismisses these notions. Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία) is a classical Greek word consists of the word "eu" ("good" or "well-being") and "daimōn" ("spirit" or "minor deity", used by extension to mean one's lot or fortune). An old professor of mine once described this notion in the following way: “Being rich won’t make you happy. 29. Happiness is the perfection of human nature. Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. Aristotle makes the claim that all things have a final end or purpose for which they aim. Aristotle On Happiness: Principles And Theories. His views on happiness were intrinsically woven with his political views. Characteristically, for Aristotle, happiness is not merely a condition of the soul but a kind of right activity. This is the final goal and purpose of human existence. Aristotle tells us that it is the. The philosopher makes a point to say that pleasure completes an activity so long as the subject and the object of the activity are in a suitable condition. The good life is therefore the rational activity of the soul, as guided by the virtues. Finally Aristotle tells us that the pleasures enjoyed by the excellent person are expressions of virtue. Aristotle dismisses this rather easily. They want one to do what they want one to do and one is not supposed to mature in something. To Aristotle, happiness is a goal that is achieved by exercising good virtue over the course of one’s lifetime. Happiness (eudaimonia), to Aristotle, meant attaining the ‘daimon’ or perfect self (Waterman, 1990). Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence 2. According to Nicomachean Ethics , happiness is the virtuous activity of the soul in accordance with reason, meaning having abilities and … Certain virtues, however, do require these external objects. For Aristotle the term eudaimonia, which is translated as 'happiness' or 'flourishing' is an activity rather than an emotion or a state. He argued that education was the embodiment of character refinement (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). 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