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According To Aristotle, How Is It That Being A Good Person Will Also Lead To Happiness?

2279 words - 10 pages

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."- Mahatma GandhiAS"Happiness depends upon ourselves."- AristotleIn Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues the highest end is the human good, and claims that the highest end pursued in action is happiness. Also, Aristotle claims that happiness is achieved only by living a virtuous life - "our definition is in harmony with those who say that happiness is virtue, or a particular virtue; because an activity in accordance with virtue implies virtue. Indeed, we may go further and assert that anyone who does not delight in fine actions is not even a good man." The virtuous life is full of reasoning for the good. Good is ...view middle of the document...

Happiness in general terms is a belief, an idea and a theory. Just like other theories, beliefs, and ideas may have fallacies, the theory of happiness might too. According to Aristotle happiness is an end, an end result of all the things a person does. Most of our acts are committed for a reason i.e. to achieve "something else," but happiness is different. Aristotle believes that searching for happiness is for being happy only and not for "something else" (14). A happy man is the man who has everything he really needs. He has those virtues which he needs to realize his potentials. In realizing his potentials he achieves happiness. That is why Aristotle says that the happy man wants nothing more. Happiness is desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else. Happiness meets Aristotle's criteria for completeness viz. "an end pursued in itself, we say, is more complete than an end pursued because of something else." (14) Happiness, according to him is just as self-sufficient as good because both make life choice worthy. Apart from being chosen for themselves honor, pleasure and wealth, are also chosen for the sake of happiness, judging that by means of them we shall be happy. Desires compiled of wealth, honor, and power are good but, they do not lead to happiness because they are superficial. Happiness, on the other hand, is not chosen or searched for, for the sake of these, or, in general, for anything other than itself. Happiness is something final and self-sufficient.This leads Aristotle to his definition of the happy life as a life made perfect by the possession of all good things such as health, wealth, friendship, knowledge, virtue - all these are constituent parts of happiness. Happiness is the whole good of which they are component parts. That is how happiness is related to all other goods. This can be tested in a very simple way. For the question as to why do we want to be healthy, one will answer by saying - because being healthy would enable us to do the kind of work we want to do. If then asked, why do you want to do your kind of work, the ultimate answer would be - because you wanted to become happy. Now if you were asked, why you wanted to become happy, the only answer would be - because you just wanted to become happy.There is an argument as to what constitutes happiness. Is it pleasure, honor, health, wealth, knowledge or something else? Aristotle clarifies that happiness is not found in living for pleasure because such a life is slavish. Nor is it found in seeking honor because honor depends not on the person but on what others think of him. In addition, Aristotle holds that the happiness of a human can be defined by determining the function proper to the human soul. This function cannot be one that plants and animals also perform, because it must be particular to human beings. Therefore, the function must be a part of the practical life of the rational part of a human, the term practical implying determined conduct,...

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