Aristotle On Happiness: Living A Life Of Contemplation

898 Words 4 Pages
Iyad Ali
Mr. Joy
7 December 2015
Aristotle on Happiness
Aristotle is a proponent of living a life of contemplation. A life of contemplation, according to Aristotle, is essentially a life of happiness (Aristotle 5). A life of happiness is the final end of human action. All human action aims at some good. One can see human action in common society directed at various ends, such as pleasure, honor, or virtue (Aristotle 7). The ultimate end at which human action is faced must be self-sufficient and desired for its own sake.
Happiness is the only final end that fits this definition, according to Aristotle. Therefore,
Happiness is the highest good attainable, or the final end, at which human action is directed.
Happiness, according to Aristotle,
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The flaw Aristotle finds in the life of pleasure is that it is much too much like beasts. Aristotle argues that this life mirrors that of animals. As humans, we should be better than animals as we are much more capable than most.
Seeking pleasure puts us on the same level as untamed beasts (Aristotle 5).
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A life centered upon wealth is a life of moneymaking. The problem with living a life motivated by wealth is that wealth is not a final end. A final end is always desired for its own sake, like happiness for example. It is not desired for the sake of anything else. A final end must also be self-sufficient, and wealth is not self-sufficient. Wealth is a means to other material/qualitative goods. Wealth is desired for the sake of other things. Therefore, wealth can be essential for happiness because it is used to achieve other ends, which may include happiness
(Aristotle 10).
A life centered upon the public image, or the political life, is a life of honor. A life of honor values one’s public perception. Every action is taken as a means to attain a solid public image or build up a public image. Popularity or honor is the final end in this case. The flaw
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There are two types of virtue: intellectual and moral. Moral virtue deals with justice, courage, and temperance. These types of virtue make up those necessary for happiness, along with the intellectual virtues. Intellectual virtue deals with productive, practical, and theoretical actions (Aristotle 13). These can be more simply defined as prudence and wisdom. The virtue of wisdom corresponds with the love of contemplation. The love of
Ali 3 contemplation is the life of the philosopher. Aristotle believes this life of contemplation is a form of a happy life. Aristotle believes virtuous rational activity is the highest good attainable.
Therefore, virtuous rational activity is essentially happiness. Happiness is also self-sufficient, so it is indeed the highest good (Aristotle 7). Happiness can be more simply defined as virtuous rational activity (Aristotle 9). In living a life of virtuous rational activity, one lives an examined life. Each action is contemplated and given thought. Each action needs to be virtuous and rational. This in turn is living a life of contemplation. The argument can be made that it

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