Aristotle believes that happiness is the ultimate goal in life. You cant reach happiness unless you work hard and become successful. That is where virtue comes into play. A humans function is to engage in an activity of the soul which is in accordance with virtue and which is in conformity with reason (page 76, Palmer). The two kinds of virtue are intellectual and moral. Our virtues are what make us all individual and all different.
Intellectual virtues are what we are born with and what we learn. It is our nature as humans and what we have inherited that makes desire to learn. As humans, we develop wisdom to help guide us to a good life. With the intellectual virtue you develop two different kinds of wisdom: practical and philosophical. Practical wisdom is your rational actions. The highest virtue is philosophical wisdom, which is scientific, disinterested, and contemplative. Moral virtues are what we learn from imitation, practice and our habits we developed. Moral virtues are what we have learned from our society.
Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do the virtues arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit (page 223, Mayfield). This quote is explaining how you need both the intellectual virtue (nature) and the moral virtue (habit).The soul is made up of three things: passions, faculties, and states of character. Since virtue is in our soul one of the three must be it. Passions are uncontrolled feelings such as appetite, anger, fear, confidence, and hatred.
With virtue you have to be praised or blamed and with your passions you cant be. We are born with faculties like we are with passions. We are not made up of good or bad nature; we are not praised nor blamed(page 225, Mayfield). This quote is explaining with passions and faculties are how we feel and desire which is neither right nor wrong, good or bad. Since passions and faculties are not defined, state of character is virtue. State of character is our actions and our habits. The virtue of man also will be the state of character which makes a man good and which makes him do his own work well (page 225, Mayfield). In order to have true virtue you need to act to accordance with a golden mean of moderation (page 78, Palmer).
This means that you need to find an intermediate so you will be praised and succeed. You cant take too much or too little. Too much for someone could be too little for someone else, therefore each person needs to find their own individual mean.For we may be said to desire all things as means to something else except indeed happiness, as happiness is the end or perfect state (page 230, Mayfield). As Aristotle said that our ultimate goal is happiness but in order to reach happiness you have to succeed. Relaxation then is not an end. We enjoy it as a means to activity; but it seems that the happy life is a life of virtue, and such a life is serious, it is not one of mere amusement.
We speak of serious things too as better than things which are ridiculous and amusing, and of the activity of the better part of mans being or of the better man as always the more virtuous (page 230, Mayfield).As an individual your goal is happiness and as a species their goal is to make the citizens happy. As happiness is the function or goal of the human individual, so is it the function of the state.
. The state is a natural human organization whose goal is to maximize happiness for its citizens (page 79, Palmer). The law comes natural to humans, which makes humans work in harmony. As human we have social instincts.
Just as humans are naturally social, so is their desire to participate in the political body an innate disposition (page 79, Palmer). As an individual you have your own state of character. Some people think that men are made good by nature, others by habit, others again by teaching (page 233, Mayfield). This quote explains how everyone is an individual and has different short-term goals.I believe that Aristotles theory on virtues is a viable ethical theory. I think that every human that succeeds in life has the same goal, reach happiness. In order for you to succeed you need to go through the process of growing up. You need to be educated and learn from trial and error.
How much people enjoy relaxing and pleasure they know it wont get you far in life. Everyone needs to live in moderation. They need to balance everything out. Take my father for example.
He graduated high school with an A because he worked extremely hard in school. That A allowed him to be accepted to a good engineering college. At college he balanced his entire schedule.
He modernized his classes, studies, work and social life. If he had too much or too little of one it he wouldnt have succeeded. All that hard work paid off and he was hired into an engineering company. Throughout his years he has worked his way up to becoming the manager. In a couple years he can retire and as he put it, do what he always wanted to do.
He told me that life is hard but overall all the hard work is rewarding and for your good. Every virtue or excellence both brings into good condition the thing of which it is the excellence and makes the work of that thing be done well (page 225, Mayfield). I think this quote well explains that if you work hard you will succeed to your maximum level.
I also feel the reason why Aristotle theory works is that you need to find an intermediate. If you have too little or too much, you wont succeed and find happiness. For instance, if you feel hatred and love both too little or too much, you will have failed. But if you find your intermediate and do things at the right time with the right people you will have succeeded. I believe that life needs to be difficult otherwise you wont be able to enjoy the good and find true happiness.
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