An introduction to the aristotelian philosophy of pleasure and the good life

So for Aristotle, the good life is a happy life.

Aristotle on the purpose of life

And the belief we must choose between pleasure feeling like something and its having intentionality also seems questionable. Rather, his point is that there is no way of telling what is genuinely pleasurable and therefore what is most pleasurable unless we already have some other standard of value. Then, when we engage in ethical inquiry, we can ask what it is about these activities that makes them worthwhile. They possess and practice many of the most important virtues. That pleasure is in itself objectless is sometimes supposed in theorizing in behavioral neuroscience, as well e. Second, there is the idea that whenever a virtuous person chooses to perform a virtuous act, he can be described as aiming at an act that is in some way or other intermediate between alternatives that he rejects. Mill, , Ch. There are myriad ways in which we can exercise our latent virtue in this way, and it would seem that the fullest attainment of human happiness would be one which brought all these ways together in a comprehensive rational life-plan. But this should come as no surprise. Pleasure could be accorded a place in the best life attainable for beings like ourselves, imperfect enough to have recurrent needs but sometimes aware of their however partial and temporary satisfaction. It is worth noting, though, that in both the Gorgias and the Republic, Plato bolsters his argument with a speculative account of an afterlife in which virtuous people are rewarded and wicked people are punished.

It has had a deservedly great influence on later accounts, from later antiquity to recent philosophy and welfare economics. One important component of this argument is expressed in terms of distinctions he makes in his psychological and biological works.

An introduction to the aristotelian philosophy of pleasure and the good life

And he agrees with Epicurus that a happy life will involve many and varied pleasurable experiences. Bibliography Ackrill, J. Belief and the like are thus plausibly thought of, at least in large part, as broadly functional states neither simply localized in any single discrete neural system nor susceptible to being capable of being similarly caused directly by similar chemical interventions in all physiologically similar individuals. Wanting things for their own sake, which hedonists often seek to explain in terms of their being pleasant, is actually connected to the central cases through its often being caused by being pleased at some prospect. But that which is opposed to what is undesirable, in that respect in which it is undesirable and bad, is good. The practical component is the acquisition of a moral character, as discussed above. But Aristotle gives pride of place to the appetite for pleasure as the passion that undermines reason. For as we have seen, he gives a reasoned defense of his conception of happiness as virtuous activity. One of the things, at least, towards which Aristotle is gesturing, as he begins Book VI, is practical wisdom. Doing anything well requires virtue or excellence, and therefore living well consists in activities caused by the rational soul in accordance with virtue or excellence. Aristotle is one of the greatest thinkers in the history of western science and philosophy, making contributions to logic, metaphysics, mathematics, physics, biology, botany, ethics, politics, agriculture, medicine, dance and theatre. The supposedly single attitude of pleasure thus seems to come apart along this line, in part corresponding to one between sensory and intellectual pleasure that many medievals and Brentano respected, by complicating their theories at this point, as Feldman does not. When two individuals recognize that the other person is someone of good character, and they spend time with each other, engaged in activities that exercise their virtues, then they form one kind of friendship.

He does not fully address this issue, but it is evident from several of his remarks in Book VI that he takes theoretical wisdom to be a more valuable state of mind than practical wisdom.

Self-love is rightly condemned when it consists in the pursuit of as large a share of external goods—particularly wealth and power—as one can acquire, because such self-love inevitably brings one into conflict with others and undermines the stability of the political community. Ross, Sir David It is a loving directed toward a sensory act.

What does aristotle say about the good life and the ingredients which can make us happy

His taxonomy begins with the premise that there are three main reasons why one person might like someone else. The difference between joyful interest and mere pleasure traditionally classified as a feeling rather than with the predominantly intentional states such as joyful interest is explained in the commentary tradition by the contrast between the state of a hot and weary desert traveler when first hearing of, and then seeing, a pool of water in a shady wood and the state of one actually enjoying, or resting after, using it. Aristotle answers: Reason. Sidgwick , , on the Stoics taking this appearance to be an always deceptive one, and not only, perhaps like Plato [Moss ] and Aristotle [Moss ], as an occasionally corrigible one. The grandest expression of ethical virtue requires great political power, because it is the political leader who is in a position to do the greatest amount of good for the community. Do I raven, do I snatch the morsels from the dish and wolf them down, impervious to the consternation of my colleagues? Haybron might locate hedonic value in bare pleasure, rather than in any cognitive awareness of it. Does such good will exist in all three kinds of friendship, or is it confined to relationships based on virtue? A different or narrower use more influenced by psychology and common in ethics involves being motivationally, affectively, or evaluatively rather than cognitively for or against e. Our pleasure tracks the perfection of our current activities and thus our proximity to this, life at its cognitively clearest, most awake, and best Protrepticus B87—B91, , p. A defense of Aristotle would have to say that the virtuous person does after all aim at a mean, if we allow for a broad enough notion of what sort of aiming is involved. But it is possible to be very angry without going to this extreme, and Aristotle does not intend to deny this. Immanuel Kant and Aristotle are two of the most prominent philosophers on ethics and morals.

In the books Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle describes five intellectual virtues that help man to be a good human being: technical knowledge, scientific knowledge, philosophical wisdom, intuitive reasoning, and practical wisdom. Plato argues that justice should be placed in this category, but since it is generally agreed that it is desirable for its consequences, he devotes most of his time to establishing his more controversial point—that justice is to be sought for its own sake.

aristotle eudaimonia

This value is teleologically explanatory of our biological development and of the lower animal desires in which we share, but also gives to human life and rational human action their own characteristic higher ultimate goal and point.

But unless we can determine which good or goods happiness consists in, it is of little use to acknowledge that it is the highest end.

aristotle philosophy

The answer to this question may be that Aristotle does not intend Book VI to provide a full answer to that question, but rather to serve as a prolegomenon to an answer.

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What Does It Mean To Live The Good Life?