Essay about Aristotle 's Theory Of Happiness

1904 Words Oct 26th, 2015 8 Pages
Aristotle was 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. He was a student of Plato who in turn studied under Socrates. One of Aristotle’s most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics, where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today, over 2,300 years later. The key question Aristotle seeks to answer is “What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?” This is, what should be the end goal for which our activities are directed. Everywhere we see people seeking pleasure, wealth, and a good reputation. Even though each of these has significant value, none of them can occupy the place of the summit for which humanity should aim. To reach this ultimate end, an act must be self-sufficient and final, “that which is always desirable in itself and never for the sake of something else” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1097a30-34), and it must of course be attainable by man. Aristotle claims that nearly everyone would agree that happiness is the end which meets all these requirements and it would be foolish to suggest otherwise. It is easy enough to see that we desire money, pleasure, and honor only because we believe that these goods will make us happy. It seems that happiness is an end in itself but all these other goods people strive for a simply a means towards obtaining happiness.

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