The Good Life In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

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Bertrand Russell once stated that, “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge”. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle creates the concept of a good life that humans should try to acquire. But Aristotle’s concept of a good life is unattainable by humans. He expresses that the ultimate human goal is happiness, but complete happiness is unattainable. He then describes the pivotal role of virtue in the concept of happiness and without virtue one cannot obtain happiness.
In Book 1 of Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue is nearly described as possible but not desirable, as Aristotle states, “For it seems to be possible for someone to possess virtue even while asleep or while being inactive throughout life and, in addition to these, while
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He stated that “since there are three things that are present in the soul- passions, capacities, and characteristics- virtue would be one of these. I mean by passions the following: desire, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joy, friendly affection, hatred, yearning, emulation, pity- in general, those things that pleasure or pain accompany. And capacities are those things in reference to which we are said to be able to undergo these passions- for example, those in reference to which we are able to feel anger, pain, or pity. But characteristics are those things in reference to which we are in a good or bad state in relation to the passions…”(32) Aristotle creates a portrait to describe what true virtue consists of. By doing this, he clarifies what one must look for in seeking virtue, and how one should compare their meanings of virtue. This gives humans a structure and guideline to follow, so that one has the possible to obtain the “good life”, which is that of happiness. But happiness is also presented as a false idol, as it can be an emotional high, such that one will feel happy. This is not, by aristotle’s description, true

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