Plato And Aristotle 's Moral Virtue Essay

814 Words Oct 21st, 2016 4 Pages
Many people have heard the common cliché that “happiness means different things for different people” and they take it for face value to be true. On the other hand, Plato and Aristotle would argue that it is false; there is by nature one type of person and therefore one type of happiness because happiness is dependent upon three main elements: reason, excellence, and friendship. In Plato’s Republic, Socrates says “it seems to me that there is one kind of virtue” (445c). These three elements together with moral virtue provide a simple equation for true happiness that can be used to influence decisions in one’s daily life.
Human beings are characterized by their ability to reason, something which is unique to humankind. Much like one could say a dog’s nature is to chase its tail, one could also say that it is human nature to reason. Human nature is, therefore, defined by reason. “Now, if happiness is activity in conformity with virtue, it is to be expected that it should conform with the highest virtue, and that is the virtue of the best part of us” (1177a10-15). By saying this, Aristotle demonstrates to his readers that reason leads to happiness because reason is the highest virtue and therefore the “best part” of human nature. Reason is characterized by being the greatest of all goods and people should spend their entire lives acquiring wisdom. Plato suggests that “there is a sort of good we would choose to have, not because we desire its consequences, but…

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