Aristotle 's The Nicomachean Ethics Essay

1409 Words Mar 3rd, 2016 null Page
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that happiness is the ultimate good that we strive to attain. He begins by reasoning that either we desire each good for the sake of another, that is, every good is but means to achieve another good, or that we desire at least one good for its own sake and for this good alone we desire others. He refutes the first claim of the premise by stating that, ‘if we choose everything for the sake of something else”, consequently, “the result will lead to a pointless and ineffectual infinite progression” (Aristotle, 4). Naturally, given the erroneous nature of the first claim, Aristotle agrees with the second claim that there is, at least, one good in which we desire for its own sake. In order to desire a good for its own sake, it must be the “most final” and it must be self-sufficient in the sense it “makes life desirable” (14). He concludes that the most final, perfect, self-sufficient good that is the end from which all of our actions are directed is happiness (15). Since Aristotle describes happiness as the ultimate good, every action committed to attain happiness follows a hierarchy. Lower tiered actions, such as mundane, everyday tasks, lead to higher-tiered actions such as lifetime accomplishments in this hierarchal structure. Each of these actions, regardless of their tier, are done for the sake of obtaining happiness.

To clarify, Aristotle’s definition of happiness is not merely a state of being, but activity that leads to a…

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