Aristotle: The Life of Contemplation is the Best Life

Essay by ssdUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 2006

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In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle discusses happiness to be the 'ultimate goal' for living a virtuous life. With this in mind, he came up with the theory of there being two types of good: The instrumental good; when one choosing something for the sake of another and intrinsic good; when one chooses something for its own sake. Chief good is another theory developed by Aristotle that shares similarities with intrinsic good. Furthermore an example of a chief good would be the concept of happiness. One who believes that happiness is the "ultimate goal" has to realize that whatever one does in life, or chooses how to live their life, is doing so for one thing, which happens to be happiness; thus making it the chief good. In order to fulfill the chief good of happiness and live a good life one has to live a virtuous life. Living life virtuously is merely living life with a purpose and in this case it is for the sake of happiness.

Aristotle expresses three types of life which he believes to be virtuous: political life: honor, pleasurable life: appetitive and contemplative life: wisdom. The life of contemplation is seen as the best life by Aristotle; this paper will examine his reasons for believing that it is the best, through his convincing arguments. Thus, explaining that it is the life that gods portray, it requires little to no external equipment, and also defines the human function.

In studies of religion, humans are more than often portrayed as an image of God. From this belief Aristotle goes on to assume that since Gods portray the life of contemplation, humans should and probably will mirror that image of living a contemplative life. "The activity of God, which surpasses all others in blessedness, must be contemplative; and...