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20 Cards in this Set

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How does Aristotle define eudaimonia?

It is difficult to define but it is roughly translated as well-being or flourishing. It involves the sort of things that would be sought after or admired: the kind of life we would wish for our children.

How does he suggest we reach eudaimonia?

By fulfilling the function of human life: reasoning well. Also we must live virtuously and not succumb to momentary sensory pleasure.

What pleasures do not count?

Momentary pleasurable sensations or lies are not sufficient for true happiness eg if someone lived happily believing thier partner wasn't cheating on them when they were. Their life has the illusion of happiness but not true happiness. Their life is not enviable or something we would wish for our children.

What does Aristotle's observations of the arts lead him to deduce?

He says that everything we undertake or work on aims at some good. Generally when we undertake something we have some idea why it is we are doing it.

How can this be disputed?

It is doubtful that twiddling our thumbs or doodling aim at any significant good.

How does Aristotle use the fact each action aims at good to make a generalisation?

He says b/c there is an aim for every action we undertake, is there one goal for the sake of which everything is done? However he has already recognised that we can do things for their own good.

What problem might this encounter if actions are an end in themselves but also part of an overall end?

Aristotle recognises that actions can be for their own sake as well as in pursuit of a larger goal. Eg imagine a dancer who enjoys dancing for its own sake rather than in pursuit of another goal such as fitness. You could say each step they dance is in pursuit of the goal of completing the dance. From this is would seem to follow that none of the dance is not being done for its own sake. However it is actually more plausible to say each movement is done equally for its own sake and for the sake of dancing. Each movement is a constituent in the dance, which is also the end.

How does this analogy help?

It shows that actions can be for their own sake as well as being constituents in a wider end: eudaimonia. If we envisage this ultimate end, including all of the parts which make it up, how could there be a further end? We want to do or be the things which make up a good life but it is absurd to say we want to live the ideal life in order to achieve anything else. BUT JUST B/C MOST ACTIONS HAVE A GOAL IT DOESN'T FOLLOW ALL DO. JUST B/C EVERYONE LOVES A CELEBRITY IT DOESN'T FOLLOW WE ALL LOVE THE SAME CELEB.

Why do we choose eudaimonia?

We choose it not only for the sake of itself but also b/c we cannot choose it for the sake of anything else since it is the end goal.

When judging if someone is eudaimon, what part of their life should you look at?

You should consider their life as a whole rather than at any specific moment since happiness is fleeting whereas a life worth living will be present throughout their life.

What is necessary for eudaimonia?

Being truly virtuous, having friendships and enjoying your life. It is not possible to be eudaimon if you are very ugly, lowborn, solitary, childless or w/o sufficient money.

How does Aristotle work out what is required for eudaimonia?

He says we should examine what is said about conduct by everyone and the most wise people in society. He says everyone cannot be wrong about these things. BUT WHAT ABOUT COUNTLESS TIMES IN THE PAST WHERE EVERYONE HAS BEEN WRONG ABOUT MORAL THINGS EG SLAVERY??

What is the telos or end of the life of a living thing?

The telos of a living thing is to live what is deemed a healthy life for things of that kind. This is the intended life according to nature.

What is this for humans?

He thinks what is unique to humans is our ability to reason. This must be our function: acting in this way [in accordance w/dictates of reasoning] is needed to achieve excellence so must be good.

Why is it important that we use this?

Our ability to reason can be seen as a special talent for our species and we generally feel that if someone has a special talent but doesn't use it, we generally see this as a waste. If we imagine a world where humans didn't use their faculty of reasoning and just made short term, pleasurable decisions, it would be a wasteful and immoral world.

What reasons does Aristotle give for acting irrationally?

He recognises that sometimes people act irrationally eg a psycopath who kills despite the fact they know they could be caught. The two reasons he gives are akrasia (when we lack knowledge of what is best) or that we are simply failing to function (such as when the heart fails to pump blood).

What could be the problem with suggesting the function of human life is reasoning?

If we felt other animals or aliens exhibited reasoning the function would no longer be unique to humans. It could also lead to the construction of harmful boundaries eg could argue people of different skin colour are of different species and therefore have different function eg to be subordinate.

Even if reasoning is our function, should we devote all our time to it?

Aristotle says we should at least devote a good proportion of our time to reasoning however if we were to say that the unique function of human life was their sense of humour would we think humans should devote all their time to making and telling jokes?

Aristotle says b/c all the parts of our body have a function then our body as a whole has a function, how could this be fallacious?

Firstly, it does not appear that every part of our body still has a function eg vestigial organs. However even if every organ did have a function, this does not follow that the body as a whole has a function eg all the ingredients for a cake are found in nature but this does not mean cakes are found in nature. Aristotle takes the fact we have a function for granted and does not examine whether this is actually true.

Can we conclude the function of living things is different w/o appeal to a creator?

Not legitimately. It seems that if things in nature are to have functions over and above the desire to survive, this would have to be by design. However, his ethics provide no reason to believe in any such creator.