Israfil Dilbazi Dr. Sally Parker Ryan Ethics 2306 12/03/2013 The good life, Eudaimonia. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher in BCE(before Christ era), a student of Plato’s academy Aristotle grew up to be one of the greatest thinkers of the time, his writings included topics on physics, logic, linguistics, politics, ethics and many more in which he underlines the act of human’s need for happiness. Eudaimonia stands for happiness in Greek.
The concept of eudaimonia is one central to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and reflects Aristotle’s belief that there exists one ultimate end o which all other ends are insubordinate and at which all actions are aimed at achieving. It is therefore seen by some as a ‘prize’ of human endeavor as a result of complete virtue and a complete life. Aristotle argues that the highest good for human beings is happiness. He insists that every action performed by humans is to pursue happiness. Aristotle also argues that human action is always aimed at some end or good.
This “good” may not be viewed as a good action or any good by others, but for the doer of the action (“good”), the activity will be perceived as good and that it will ring a favorable outcome. Every act and every inquiry, and similarly every action or pursuit, is thought to aim at some good, and for this reason the good has rightly declared to be that at which all things aim’ (Aristotle, The Nicomachaen Ethics) Eudiamonia is a life of rational activity, informed with virtue, which is pursued continually.
Our ability to achieve eudaimonia depends on us having some power or access to resources in the world. People without power never reach their moral potential. Friendship is necessary to eudaimonia and it is an extension of self- esteem. By virtue of being rational animals we naturally live by a plan or rule. But just as the good life is an activity of reason in relation with excellence, eudaimonia depends on having the right rule or plan. The right rule or plan is the one that leads to our possessing what is really good for us, what is needed to live well.
The good life (eudaimonia) involves three real goods, each of which corresponds to an aspect of our nature. These goods are external goods, which are grounded in our animal nature (food, shelter), bodily goods, which are grounded in our animal nature (health, itality), and goods of the soul (mind, reason), which are grounded in our rational and social nature (knowledge and friendship). External goods” are various objects to be acquired, such as clothing, a house, and so on. “Goods of the body’ refers to health in its various aspects. Goods of the soul” are personality characteristics. Aristotle freely admits that all of these things are good things. The first two are requisite for happiness. In contrast to ascetic thinkers, Aristotle does not think that one can be happy impoverished and sickly. But, his primary concern, and the more interesting uestion for Aristotle, is the question of what the good of the soul actually consists in. One of the reasons why the “g of the soul” is more interesting is because goods of the body and external goods are in large part subject to changes of fortune.
Granted, there is a great deal of control one can exert over whether or not one acquires and keeps material items and also stays in good health. Aristotle would of course suggest that one cultivate one’s ability to keep oneself in good health and also in good financial shape. But, the goods of the soul are special in that they stay with a person egardless of what happens around him or her. That is to say they are least subject to the whims of fortune. Having a good soul is most properly “happiness,” even if external and bodily goods are requisite for happiness.
Another way of saying this is that self-sufficiency is most properly a characteristic ofa good soul. If one practices moderation in the right way, one will then build up certain character traits (habits) that improve one as a person, improve the quality of the soul, and result in happiness. This is achieved trough the ‘GOLDEN MEAN’. Aristotle’s ethics is ometimes referred to as “virtue ethics” since its focus is not on the moral weight of duties or obligations, but on the development of character and the acquiring of virtues such as courage, Justice, temperance, benevolence, and prudence.
And anyone who knows anything about Aristotle has heard his doctrine of virtue as being a “golden mean” between the extremes of excess and deficiency. Courage, for example, is a mean regarding the feeling of fear, between the deficiency of rashness (too little fear) and the excess of cowardice (too much fear). Justice is a mean between etting or giving too much and getting or giving too little. Benevolence is a mean between giving to people who don’t deserve it and not giving to anyone at all.
Aristotle is not recommending that one should be moderate in all things; since one should at all times exercise the virtues. One can’t reason “l should be cruel to my neighbor now since I was too nice to him before. ” The mean is a mean between two vices, and not simply a mean between too much and too little. We can conclude that based on Aristotle, eudaimonia is achieved through virtue; Aristotle also requires that n agent experience some good fortune in order to obtain eudaimonia.
Because eudaimonia is a constant activity, there will be both good fortune and bad fortune in the life of an agent. The fortune relevant to eudaimonia is that which is present when you look at the big picture of the agent’s life. So, Aristotelian eudaimonia is the highest realizable good. It is an activity of the soul that must be performed over time, and that depends on exercising excellence in reason through virtue. Also, eudaimonia requires sufficient good fortune of the agent that he may recognize his own well-being. Work Cited Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle