Aristotle 's Of The Nicomachean Ethics Essay
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…