Aristotle: Virtue Aristotle Is Considered to Be Term Paper

  • Length: 4 pages
  • Sources: 1+
  • Subject: Black Studies - Philosophy
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #41341244
  • Related Topics: Aristotle, Hercules, Iliad, Ancient

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Aristotle: Virtue

Aristotle is considered to be the philosopher of philosophers, he virtually wrote about everything, he pioneered most of the disciplines like psychology, biology, meteorology and political science. For almost a thousand years Aristotle's theories were unchallenged such was the impact of his philosophy and thought. The medieval philosophy of Scholastics and early Renaissance thinkers borrowed heavily from Aristotle. At the root of Aristotle's philosophy was his doctrine of virtue and natural law. Aristotle believed that everything in life serves a purpose "telos" as he called it and distinguished "efficient" causes from "final" causes. 'Efficient causes are those things or processes that lead to the final cause, they are the means to ends, for example a painter uses paints and brush to create a work of art, the brush and paints are tools, process to make a painting. While the final cause is the end product, the painting. Similarly he saw that every object and every action has a final purpose and this determines its 'good'. Thus if we understand the final good of an organism, we will then be able to understand the necessary natural processes by means of which it will reach that end. According to Aristotle the final good of human beings, the chief end is 'happiness'.

According to Aristotle there was an intimate relationship between virtue and happiness. Virtue (arete) is "excellence in fulfillment of a particular function, while "happiness" (eudiamonia) is a sense of well-being, resulting from achieving "excellence" in the fulfillment of one's functions both theoretical and practical functions. Aristotle argued that the natural purpose 'telos' can be achieved by living a virtuous life. Aristotle holds that 'good' can be known on the basis of experience of human behavior and desire. In order to know what actually good is, that man aim at, we have to look man's daily activities and examine his behavior, he notes that man has a hierarchy of purpose and deduces from these multiple purposes that there has to exist a higher good or purpose. This good must be final and attainable by man. Aristotle concludes that the highest good is man desires or aims at happiness. The question as to how this happiness and highest good can be achieved, Aristotle answers that each man is endowed with reason and this is the essence of human being. Man should realize, for it is in its realization that man's highest good is found. Aristotle is here saying that man's happiness lies not only in possessing knowledge but also in application of it.

As we discussed above Aristotle believes that nothing has been created in vain, everything has a purpose the final goal, the final goal 'happiness' when we fulfill our function and our function as a rational being is to reason. Thus, according to Aristotle, a happy life for human beings is a life governed by reason. The function of man's highest nature, his rational soul, is to live a well-ordered life in which every phase of man responds to his rational dictates in the sense that his lower nature behaves in confirming to reason. Thus virtue is essentially the use…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Paresh D. Bhatt Aristole on Happiness and Virtue: http://www.swaminarayan.org/essays/2002/2203.htm

Aristotle on Internet Encyclopedia: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/a/aristotl.htm

Virtue Theory on Internet Encyclopedia: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/v/virtue.htm http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/a/aristotl.htm http://www.swaminarayan.org/essays/2002/2203.h

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