Aristotle's Ethics

Essay by ssdUniversity, Bachelor'sB+, November 2006

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Aristotle's achievements stretch through most scientific disciplines, many of which were founded by him. His system of logic still holds true to this day, never added to since the day he finished his last debate on the topic. This is the calibre and distinction of Aristotle, one of the greatest thinkers the world has ever seen.

Probably his greatest achievements however, were his treaties on human nature in his Ethics series.

One of the most interesting ideas put forward in his arguments is the idea that humans have a function and have a goal, just like tools. He suggests that the goal of human life is Eudaimonia, which is an Ancient Greek word that literally translates as ¡¥human flourishing, or happiness.

This concept of humans having a goal has caused much controversy ever since it was first suggested, and in this spirit of this I will attempt to add my thoughts to the debate.

In this paper I aim to break down Aristotle¡¦s reasoning on the concept, then explain whether or not his points seem to hold true in the real world. Hopefully this methodological approach should help us to gain a definite understanding of what Aristotle was really getting at, and whether his arguments flourish or perish.

The Argument for Eudaimonia

In Book 1 of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle sets out to reason his way towards Eudaimonia. Firstly he states that the purpose of every action is to seek good (good being the practical end of an undertaking). This is a reasonable assumption, and he illustrates his point by giving the example of medicine, which seeks health as an end. Health is the good sought by medicine.

With this point proven, he states that the highest of all achievable good is Happiness. Being human, we can vaguely understand...