Nicomacean Ethics by Aristotle

Essay by vtroiaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2005

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According to Aristotle the best path to take in life may not always be the ones that bring immediate pleasure. For him, a person's goals in life should be happiness and complete moral and physical excellence. However, Aristotle's views of excellence are subjective and can not be written in stone. A person has to make their own decisions and ultimately choose the best path to take. Over the last few weeks, I have tried to live my life according to his values. My paper will be about my state of mind during those decisions and how they have helped me to become a much better person.

Aristotle describes happiness as "an active life in pursuit of complete human excellence" (N.E). The human psyche can create two very different types of happiness. Happiness can stem from the intellect, e.g. the power of reason and to make accurate and rational decisions.

The next form of happiness can come from desire. If our desire is not kept in check, our appetites and passions will dominate and rule our lives, resulting in a way of life that does not act in accordance with reason and morality. On the other hand, if we can keep our desires in balance with our reason then we should be well on our way to living a morally excellent life.

According to Aristotle, balance, his key to leading a morally excellent life, is nothing more then the ability to choose to make choices and act with reason towards our desires. In other words, he is saying that to truly do best for themselves, a person must not always choose the path of greatest pleasure. Sometimes, true morality can be a toss up between doing what's best for you now or what's best for yourself in the long term;...