Aristotle 's Of The Nicomachean Ethics Essay

1329 Words Mar 2nd, 2016 6 Pages
In the the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle seeks to find the highest good of all human beings. In the process of deciding that the highest good is happiness, Aristotle ends up discarding certain entities, such as pleasure and honor, of being candidates for the highest good.
In Aristotle’s discussion of the goods we seek, he rather quickly disregards pleasure as a possible highest good. In Bk. 1. Chap. 5, Aristotle even states that a person who has chosen a life dependent on pleasure has chosen a life for grazing animals (1095b20-21). In life, grazing animals only seek to reach satisfaction from eating and then resting. By saying this, Aristotle means that by only seeking pleasure, a person is seeking no more than what a cow seeks. For that reason, pleasure simply can not be the highest good.
In Bk. 1. Chap. 7, Aristotle subtly backs up this argument by describing the function of a human being. He states that when thinking of the highest possible good of a person doing a certain function, one thinks of the person doing well at that function. For example, the highest good for a basketball player would be to perform extremely well at the sport and, for that reason, be inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. The good of a function “seems to depend on its function” (1097b27-28). So, in order to decide what must be the highest good of a human being, one must understand the function of a human being.
The first function Aristotle accounts for is plainly to live. He…

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