Aristotle on Happiness

Length: 3 Pages 859 Words

Aristotle on Happiness Aristotle believes that happiness rests within an absolutely final and self-sufficient end. The reasoning behind this theory is that every man is striving for some end, and every action he does must be due to this desire to reach this final end. He believes that in order for a man to be happy, he must live an active life of virtue, for this will in turn bring him closer to the final end. Although some may believe that these actions that the man chooses to take is what creates happiness, Aristotle believes that these actions are just a mere part of the striving toward the final end. Ancient ethical thought has created the idea that an ethical life is a rational life centered on some good. This good that he speaks of is what he believes is happiness. When looking at this theory plainly, one might believe that this final end could rest in a man’s occupation, for if he enjoyed his trade, he would be acting rationally, and centering his attention on a certain good, the good which he produces. For example, some may believe that for a bridle maker the final end would be the finished bridle. Even if this man loves his work, the happiness he gets out of making this bridle is in no way his only reason for Continue...

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Wealth by itself cannot be the final end, since wealth itself does nothing unless this wealth is used in a certain way to bring about this feeling of happiness. This bridle is made so he can sell the bridle, which creates wealth, which others may see as the final end that may create happiness. When all is said and done, however, each man is striving towards the same end, happiness. Aristotle also says each man has an overall final end within which each of our actions fits and makes sense. Each one of these steps is less desirable than the final end, which the man is striving for. As different as these routes may seem, the actions that the two totally different men chose to take are aimed at the same final goal. But even by creating a better life for his children, the man still hasn't reached happiness completely. Since happiness is such a hard position to reach, and in order to reach this position one must act in a virtuous manner over and over again, it could be reasonably thought that a gift of such an incredible magnitude could be a god-given gift to those who deem themselves worthy of it. This is why Aristotle believes that this final end is self-sufficient, meaning that all the actions the man took to achieve this final end are just building blocks toward the most desirable end. This sense of happiness being the central goal of all men may be why some argue that happiness is something divinely bestowed upon a person. According to this view, it seems as if each man's happiness comes with attaining something that they do not already have. For example, someone who is poor would most likely focus their view of happiness on wealth, while someone who is already wealthy would focus their view of happiness on something different, such as honor. As you can see, this cycle keeps going on and on, until it must reach at some point a final end, where happiness is finally achieved.


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