Essay on Aristotle 's Views On Morality And Happiness

1366 Words Dec 8th, 2016 6 Pages
Morality and happiness are closely intertwined in the ethical theories of a handful of philosophers. Such can be seen in the philosophies of Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and Friedrich Nietzsche. These three philosophers address the relationship held between the “good” and “happy.”

Kant begins his analysis of the relationship between “good” and “happy” by discussing the Good Will. It is through this constitution that a man can be seen as worthy of happiness. The implementation of the good will is identified as a moral compass that distinguishes right from wrong, good from bad, happy from unhappy.

The second principle Kant brings up is the composition of the summum bonum, the highest good/life. Kant identifies this life through a combination of happiness and virtue. Virtue, seen by Kant, is the moral duty of everyone. The identification of virtue is intertwined with the nature of morality. Thus, to seek virtue one acts with reason as moral law is seen as objective and universal.

Kant continues to explain how in the constitution of the summum bonum, virtue is seen as the primary element, the moral cause; while happiness is secondary to and in consequence of virtue. It is through these two elements of the summum bonum, that Kant distinguishes how happiness is only applicable on the basis that it be morally conditioned.

The identification of the summum bonum takes the relationship of the “good” and “happy” together on the focal point that virtue can be achieved when…

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