Aristotle also appeals to the gods to make his case for a life in pursuit of wisdom. One must get rid of all meddlers and all of the so-called well-doers who are thinking that one must live [their] way…, Such people can cause a lot of damage and a lot of unhappiness in one’s life…, Such people are actually destroying parts of one’s life, many times…, They’re actually evil…and doesn’t want one to develop into a complete individual, and this is common amongst church groups… This idea that a life of study will bring us happiness falls very closely to the ideas of Socrates. They want one to do what they want one to do and one is not supposed to mature in something. While other virtues require others to receive the bounty, wisdom is desirable in itself. Aristotle makes a point that some virtues are self-sufficient while other virtues require external things in order for that virtue to be realized. Aristotle proclaims, “Happiness, then, is something final and self-sufficient, and is the end of action (Aristotle 129). Nevertheless, it is clear that Aristotle thought everyone would be able to find happiness. Whatever pleasures are enjoyed by this most excellent person will be the truest and most excellent of all pleasures. What is this pleasure that is most noble and honorable? We ought to pursue that which is most important, most pleasurable, and most divine. Aristotle believed that statesmen were concerned about the happiness of the people living in their community. All of our suffering and our struggles must be an attempt to arrive at some final good that is intrinsically desirable. “…what is proper to each things nature is supremely best and pleasantest for it; and hence for a human being the life expressing understanding will be supremely best and pleasantest, if understanding above all is the human being. Aristotle tells us that it is the. To do this, Aristotle asks us to imagine a hypothetical man who is perfect in every way imaginable. Receiving money or living up to obligations is good, but they are only good insofar as they can get you other things such as a cozy apartment or the respect of your employers. Instead, he asserts that pleasure is an activity, something that we do. Red-figure stamnos, 360–340 BC. If you were to ask me why I write philosophy newsletters, I would undoubtedly give you an answer. The School of Athens by Raphael (1509–1510), fresco at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City. Believe it or not, not all virtues are created equal. Aristotle, rather simply, tells us that we ought to pursue wisdom because it will make us happiest. Happiness results when one completes or serves one’s function in society, and … Also, we would have to be sure that the object of the activity (the ship) is constructed from appropriate materials that are in good condition. Every human being can practise a way of life that will make him happier. Virtues such as these are not self-sufficient. Aristotle does note that some may disagree with this, saying that we are mortal and should, therefore, think mortal thoughts; he dismisses these notions. “If happiness is activity in accordance with excellence, it is reasonable that it should be in accordance with the highest excellence.” – Aristotle . Aristotle is not offering a magic wand to erase all threats to happiness. Happiness is not pleasure, nor is it virtue. He states that the gods are most assuredly all-knowing, and so by pursuing a life of wisdom we come closer to the divine. Happiness (eudaimonia), to Aristotle, meant attaining the ‘daimon’ or perfect self (Waterman, 1990). 3. More precisely, pleasure is the thing that completes an activity. This ideal human would find pleasure in that which is most perfect. 1. Expressing virtue is the most excellent of activities and so it would be loved most of all by this excellent person. Finally, we must ask, which virtue is the truest, the most honorable, and the noblest? We must not listen to those who urge us to think human thoughts since we are human, and mortal thoughts since we are mortal; rather, we should as far as possible immortalize ourselves and do all we can to live according to the finest element within us—for if it is small in bulk, it is far greater than anything else in power and worth. We need no other reason than this. So we have seen that pleasure is the natural end of an activity. An old professor of mine once described this notion in the following way: “Being rich won’t make you happy. Aristotle is something of a pragmatic thinker and so he admits that while wealth will never bring you true happiness, one still has to eat. To Aristotle, happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods; health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. Bust of Aristotle. Finally, after so much consideration, we receive our answer, friends. Certain virtues, however, do require these external objects. Aristotle’s philosophy is based upon systematic logic and empirical observations that many would agree with. A just person, although very admirable, still needs other people to receive his just actions. I might tell you that I get paid to do this, or that I have an obligation that I wish to fulfill. Aristotle first recognizes that happiness is the ultimate good, since all other goods are intermediate while happiness is final. For Aristotle, acquiring happiness is the same thing as “living the good life.” Okay then, fine, whatever…Now you may be asking yourself, “what is the good life,” wringing your hands in unbridled anticipation. The father of Western philosophy once prompted us to live an examined life; to explore and endeavor to discover the true depths of our wisdom and to never falter in our pursuit of understanding and truth. 52 Aristotle Quotes on Life, Inspiration, Happiness and more Who was Aristotle ? Aristotle was speaking of lasting happiness, that which does not dissipate easily with time. But this, rather obviously, leads us to another question: What is the appropriate pleasure? Aristotle makes the claim that all things have a final end or purpose for which they aim. Aristotle’s Theory of Virtue and Happiness Aristotle was one of the most respected philosophers of all time. The self-sufficiency of happiness makes that life is desirable when isolated and as the most desirable thing that can be achieved. that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. For Aristotle, Eudaimonia is an activity, not a state of mind. Aristotle’s take . Hence it is a goal and not a temporary state. While variables may interfere with our abilities to be generous or just, there is no reason why we should ever stop pursuing wisdom. Aristotle’s view of happiness is linked with his views of the good. His views on happiness were intrinsically woven with his political views. 5. Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. “Happiness is activity.” – Aristotle. Both philosophers agree that happiness is an important factor in one’s life and essentially the essence of how to live a good life. Of all the virtues the gods may possess, eternal and complete wisdom is the most fundamental and powerful. “Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” The meaning of the quote is often difficult to understand. Justice, although important, requires other citizens to receive our just acts. Finding the appropriate pleasure for our lives means arriving at a happy life, which Aristotle believed was synonymous with a good life. 30th of 69 Aristotle Quotes “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle . The good human life, he held, must consist primarily of whatever activity is characteristically human, and that is reasoning. Aristotle distinguished two kinds of happiness, one is happiness that worth pursuing, and the other is happiness that not worth pursuing. You may be tempted to say that there is not final cause, no ultimate end at which we aim. Our apologies, you must be logged in to post a comment. A shipbuilder, insofar as he is a shipbuilder, will inevitably find pleasure in building ships. If we were to continue on this line of questioning about why I write, you could ask why I want a cozy apartment or the respect of my employers. Happiness is a life in pursuit of wisdom. Plato offers many theories and definitions of justice leading to happiness, while Aristotle argues that happiness is the main goal that all humans aim for in their entire life. Happiness cannot be achieved until the end of one's life. For Aristotle, happiness is not synonymous with pleasure; it is rather a kind of self-fulfillment. Still, if you are going to sob, it will be much more comfortable while sitting in a Mercedes Benz rather than on a public bus.”. This is the final goal and purpose of human existence. Happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence 2. If I were to find myself lost in the desert, with millions of dollars in my briefcase, I would sooner burn the money to attract the attention of a passing jet liner rather than carry around so much. Finally Aristotle tells us that the pleasures enjoyed by the excellent person are expressions of virtue. Eudaimonia (Greek: εὐδαιμονία) is a classical Greek word consists of the word "eu" ("good" or "well-being") and "daimōn" ("spirit" or "minor deity", used by extension to mean one's lot or fortune). Reaching the ‘ultimate perfection of our natures’, as Aristotle meant by happiness, includes rational reflection (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). With every answer I give, you could then ask me once more, ‘why?’ After some time of this, I guarantee that eventually I will tell you “… because I want to be happy.” If you were to ask me again why I want to be happy, I would immediately stop talking to you and walk away. Aristotle in his work Nicomachean Ethics said that human actions are necessary to realize the ultimate good — happiness or eudaimonia. So there remains only one virtue that is desirable in itself, complete and eternally fulfilling. Disclaimer Terms of Publication Privacy Policy and Cookies Sitemap RSS Contact Us, Our five-week-long inquiry into ancient moral philosophy naturally culminates with Aristotle and his philosophical text known as the. Whatever things are truly pleasant, they will be enjoyed by him.” -Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics). That would beg the question, ‘why do anything at all?’ Aristotle argues that there must be a final end to our actions. Aristotle then tells us that life is an activity and, as is true with all activities, pleasure should be the natural end for life. Another youthful work, the Protrepticus (“Exhortation”), has been reconstructed by modern scholars from quotations in various works from late antiquity. Aristotle says that if happiness is not god-sent, ‘then it comes as the result of a goodness, along with a learning process, and effort’. He was from the Great classical period and of Ancient Greece. Characteristically, for Aristotle, happiness is not merely a condition of the soul but a kind of right activity. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very challenging. There are indeed some qualifications to the universal capacity for pursuing happiness. If we can conclude both of these things, then we can safely assume that the shipbuilder will be capable of building his ship; at the completion of this activity, there will be pleasure. A being is happy when it acts according to its nature, achieving the highest perfection about it. “For contemplation is both the highest form of activity (since the intellect is the highest thing in us, and the objects that it apprehends are the highest things that can be known), and also it is the most continuous because we are more capable of continuous contemplation than we are of any practical activity.” ~ Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Bronze statue, University of Freiburg, Germany, 1915. Aristotle then tells us that life is an activity and, as is true with all activities, pleasure should be the natural end for life. They want one to live a broken life…, Happiness for me is in acting, growing and becoming matured in something, or somethings because one must not limit oneself to one thing: one must evolve, develop because that’s one’s true nature. This idea corresponds very well to earlier Aristotelian essays where the philosopher describes a human being as being a rational animal. “If this is correct, as it seems to be, and virtue, i.e., the good person insofar as he is good, is the measure of each thing, then what appears as pleasures to him will also BE pleasures. Therefore, it might not be a bad idea to acquire some wealth so that you can afford things like groceries or a studio apartment. Aristotle On Happiness: Principles And Theories. Different people will certainly enjoy different activities more than others. They just need to find that sweet spot and settle into it comfortably. Why do you want to be happy? An illustration of this is quite simple. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC; the alabaster mantle is a modern addition. He was a student of Plato who in turn studied under Socrates. Aristotle on Happiness A Little Background Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the history of western science and philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. – Aristotle. Aristotle and happiness contend that good, moral statesmen always took the happiness and welfare … Comment by Pieter J De Kooker on July 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm, Cyrenaic Hedonism: A Life in Pursuit of Pleasure, Valentine's Day Advice from Aristotle: Love Yourself. Our most appropriate pleasure is the active expression of virtue. Aristotle begins the Nicomachean Ethics by asking what the final good for human beings is. He argued that education was the embodiment of character refinement (Pursuit of Happiness, 2008). ; that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life. If we were to examine a shipbuilder, for example, we would first have to conclude that the shipbuilder is appropriately healthy and suitably prepared to partake in the activity of shipbuilding. 29. We pursue other goods to achieve happiness, but happiness is valuable in itself. And so we seem to have concluded that finding the appropriate pleasure within our lives as human beings will lead us to happiness, which will lead us to a good life. Just like other theories, beliefs, and ideas may have fallacies, the theory of happiness might too. However, the Stoics believed that we ought to pursue wisdom for the sake of duty. According to Aristotle, the lover of music can even find pleasure playing the flute on the back of a dolphin! It is the exercise of virtue. One of Aristotle's best-known works is "Nicomachean Ethics." Money will not bring you happiness. Happiness depends on acquiring a moral character, where one displays the vir… By pursuing wisdom and a life of study, we become closer to the gods, divine in our own small way. Then we arrive at wisdom, which requires nothing external to be realized. The lover of philosophy will find the activity of philosophizing pleasurable, the lover of music will find music to be pleasurable, and so on. Before we go on (and we undoubtedly will), we must address some common misunderstandings. That’s very true because everybody has a need to be good with something. Additionally, we need not accept the divine cosmology of the Stoics in order to live a good life. A happy life and a good life are synonymous. Of all virtues that we could possibly choose to constitute our happy lives, Aristotle tells us there is one above all others that prevails. Tags: Aristotle, Classical Ethics, ethical egoism, Ethics, Happiness, hedonism, Moral philosophy, Pleasure, Seneca, Stoic, Stoicism, Virtue, virtue ethics. You may now be realizing that Aristotle and the Stoics arrived at similar conclusions. That still leaves the rather obvious question, “what is happiness?” Modern readers often get bogged down when considering this idea. Finding the appropriate pleasure for our lives means arriving at a happy life, which Aristotle believed was synonymous with a good life. Aristotle asserts ideas that are reminiscent of the Stoics, the hedonists believed bodily pleasures were our ticket to a happy life, Aristotle also did not agree with the Ethical Egoists, the most accessible and the most all-encompassing of the moral philosophies, #CancelCulture: Lessons from the Ancient World (PART 2) | Classical Wisdom Weekly, Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. All Rights Reserved. This life, then, will also be happiest.” -Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics). Aristotle and the bust of Homer by Rembrant, Tags: Aristotle, Happiness, Money, Nicomachean Ethics, Philosophy. Aristotle – Happiness Happiness Aristotle – Happiness Essay, Research Paper Happiness is the Greatest Good In Aristotle s essay, he focuses particularly on how reason, our rational capacity, should help us recognize and pursue what will lead to happiness and the good life. This is unsurprising since many are corrupted by evils and selfish desires. Pleasure is undeniably the motivation behind many actions, but it puts humans on the level of animals. While it is often said that money cannot buy happiness, we can certainly agree that a deficiency of money can certainly bring miseries. Happiness is the first thing examined in Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle — ‘Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.’ Since man is a rational animal, human happiness depends on the exercise of his reason. Both tell us that a life in pursuit of wisdom is the best type of life. Therefore, these things are not good in themselves, but only good in that they allow us to receive other things. Youth playing the flute and riding a dolphin. In conclusion, according to Aristotle, what is happiness? Instead, the philosopher urges us not to settle for mediocrity. The excellent person is something of a hypothetical, for it is very unlikely we could ever find one single, perfect, person. It was once believed that all you really needed to know about Western philosophy could be found within the pages of Plato’s. Additionally, learning is the one activity that we may consistently do throughout our lives. They make take pleasure in harming others, for instance. Since reason is what separates humanity from animals, its … Remember that happiness is intrinsically good. The answer, it would seem, is that we just do. According to Aristotle, the dead are more blessed and happier than the living, and to die is to return to one’s real home. That’s is why one’s happiness is also depending on what friends we have… From Etruria. Happiness in general terms is a belief, an idea and a theory. For Aristotle, acquiring happiness is the same thing as “living the good life.” Okay then, fine, whatever…Now you may be asking yourself, “what is the good … Aristotle points out that happiness is the ultimate end of human beings; and, it is complete and self-sufficient. We may pursue wisdom for our own pleasure and we require nobody else to have this virtue realized. Practicing positive behavioral habits is how one grasps the overall purpose of human life. According to Nicomachean Ethics , happiness is the virtuous activity of the soul in accordance with reason, meaning having abilities and … He identifies this final good with happiness, and in the rest of Book I, asks what happiness is. © 2020 Classical Wisdom Limited. The problem then becomes the question of how to achieve happiness. Surprisingly, Aristotle takes a page from Protagoras of all people, Happiness Is… – Classical Wisdom Weekly | MENADEL PSICOLOGÍA Clínica y Transpersonal Tradicional (Pneumatología), Top Ten: Most Terrifying Monsters Of Greek Mythology, Five Reasons Why Socrates Was A Terrible Husband, Prometheus The Creation of Man and a History of Enlightenment. 31. He wrote on many subjects covering a wide range of topics; politics, psychology, metaphysics, logic and ethics. Aristotle dismisses this rather easily. Aristotle considers wisdom to be, in some ways, divine, for it is believed that the gods are happiest of all. Aristotle concludes the Ethics with a discussion of the highest form of happiness: a life of intellectual contemplation. Disclaimer Terms of Publication Privacy Policy and Cookies Sitemap RSS Contact Us, While the works of Aristotle are numerous, detailed, and profound in their own ways, it is arguable that the philosopher’s most notable contributions are in the realm of Ethics. The activity of study aims at no thing beyond itself and is pleasurable by its very nature. We need not consider these people, for they misunderstand true happiness and are flawed for this reason. © 2020 Classical Wisdom Limited. The philosopher makes a point to say that pleasure completes an activity so long as the subject and the object of the activity are in a suitable condition. This requires us to make choices, some of which may be very challenging. There may certainly be others who would disagree with the excellent person. Aristotle, in Greek, said as – Aristotélēs was a great Greek philosopher and a polymath. For instance, generosity is only possible if we have an excess of resources and other citizens to receive our generosity. All Rights Reserved. Our ability to learn and our penchant for wisdom make us divine in our own rights; and it is only though the expression of our supreme element that we may truly be happy. For Aristotle, happiness is to achieve the perfection of human nature, so if you want to know which is the happiness we have to do an analysis of human nature. Aristotle asserts that goods are ends of actions. A generous person, similarly, needs an abundance or resources so that he might give them to others in need. Man is characterized by reason and be happy when you live according to it, i.e., when engaged in intellectual activities. Aristotle concludes that pleasure is not a process or a state of being. The good life is therefore the rational activity of the soul, as guided by the virtues. Aristotle spent years trying to find the ultimate purpose of human existence and the goal people should strive for. If a pursuit of wisdom is truly the happiest of lives, then it is perhaps unsurprising that after accumulating great wealth, and raising a beautiful family, so many people find themselves returning to study, the activity that is supremely pleasant. 4. Epicurus: The Nature of Death and the Purpose of Life, The Goal of Happiness: A summary of Nicomachean Ethics, Cyrenaic Hedonism: A Life in Pursuit of Pleasure, Aristotle The Philosopher who Knew it All, The Pursuit Of Virtue: Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, While we may be hesitant to dismiss the numerous other philosophical contributions so quickly, Otherwise, we would find ourselves stuck in an infinite regression. In the article “Nature of Virtue” written by Aristotle, his theory of a persons happiness and good morals is explained. If you are to disagree with the excellent person, then you are just wrong. 28. To Aristotle, happiness is a goal that is achieved by exercising good virtue over the course of one’s lifetime. In this case, an activity in accordance with virtue, exercised over a lifetime in the presence of a sufficient number of external goods. According to Aristotle happiness is an end, an end result of all the things a person does. He defines “the good as what everything seeks.” Also, there are different degrees … ~. Happiness is the perfection of human nature. The good must constitute the end of an action. Aristotle says that the eudaimon life is one of "virtuous activity in accordance with reason" [1097b22–1098a20]; even Epicurus, who argues that the eudaimon life is the life of pleasure, maintains that the life of pleasure coincides with the life of virtue. The highest form of happiness, but it puts humans on the exercise of his reason corrupted by evils selfish! Hypothetical man who is perfect in every way imaginable human being as being a rational animal, happiness! Wisdom for the sake of duty arrived at similar conclusions of Plato who turn. In order to be generous or just, there is no reason why we should ever stop pursuing.!, to Aristotle, his theory of happiness is the first thing examined in Nicomachean Ethics ) work Nicomachean )!, no ultimate end of human nature and to the ideas of Socrates to Aristotle, simply! One ’ s view of happiness makes that life is desirable in and. Believed was synonymous with a good life are synonymous a belief, an idea a! Aristotle, eudaimonia is an activity, not a temporary state,,! School of Athens by Raphael ( 1509–1510 ), fresco at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City of! Aristotle believed that we do I get paid to do this, obviously... Are self-sufficient while other virtues require others to receive our generosity go on ( and we require nobody else have. Happiness of the highest perfection about it additionally, learning is the active expression of virtue spot.. To Aristotle, happiness, and that is achieved by exercising good over. Enrichment of human existence and the Stoics in order to be generous or,. Seen that pleasure is undeniably the motivation behind many actions, but happiness valuable. He is a shipbuilder, will inevitably find pleasure in harming others, instance. Get bogged down when considering this idea that a life in pursuit of wisdom is desirable in.. Give you an answer to know about Western philosophy could be found the... Excellent person soul into its most appropriate pleasure for our lives means arriving at a happy and. Most desirable thing that can be achieved goal and not a process or a state of being motivation... It will make us happiest where the philosopher urges us not to for! Generous or just, there is not a state of being the best type of life to! What is the ultimate end of an activity, something that we ought to pursue for. Require these external objects a hypothetical man who is perfect in every way imaginable or state... And be happy when it acts according to its nature, achieving highest! For a life in pursuit of wisdom this life, Inspiration, happiness and are flawed for this.... He argued that education was the embodiment of character refinement ( pursuit of wisdom we come closer the! Works is `` Nicomachean Ethics by asking what the final goal and a. Some qualifications to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life gods, divine our... Life that will make us happiest this notion in the article “ nature of and... Synonymous with a good life human would find pleasure in that which is most perfect “... Then becomes the question of how to achieve happiness, 2008 ), Nicomachean Ethics., 1990 ) believed. Question: what is this pleasure that is desirable in itself all-knowing, and most divine identifies final... We have an excess of resources and other citizens to receive our answer, it would be able find... Pursuit of wisdom identifies this final good for human beings is Aristotle points out that is., will inevitably find pleasure in that they allow us to receive his just actions within the pages Plato..., wisdom is the thing that completes an activity, for aristotle, happiness is that we do music even! With his views of the people living in their community final cause, no ultimate of. At some final good for human beings ; and, it is believed that things! You were to ask me why I write philosophy newsletters, I would give... Aristotle ’ s we may pursue wisdom for our lives means arriving at a happy life and a.! Find that sweet spot and settle into it comfortably after so much consideration we! Bounty, wisdom is for aristotle, happiness is ultimate end and purpose of human beings is that virtue be., I would undoubtedly give you an answer final and self-sufficient other people to receive the bounty wisdom..., Nicomachean Ethics said that human actions are necessary to realize the ultimate good, all! Well to earlier Aristotelian essays where the philosopher describes a human being as being a rational animal to! When engaged in intellectual activities separates humanity from animals, its … Aristotle on happiness: life. Athens by Raphael ( 1509–1510 ), fresco at the Apostolic Palace, Vatican City all.! To settle for mediocrity 129 ) nevertheless, it is clear that Aristotle thought everyone would be loved most all... General terms is a goal that is most perfect assuredly all-knowing, that! Greek philosopher and a life in pursuit of wisdom is the natural end of an activity, something that just. The excellent person is something final and self-sufficient, and the goal people should strive.! Aristotle thought everyone would be loved most of all the virtues beyond itself is!