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The ultimate goal of human activity. It is a final good because it is intrinsically valuable, or self-sufficient.
- Is the good because it alone makes life worth all of the suffering.
- Objection- According to a wide range of religious views, the goal of life is loving God and not happiness.
- The life of pleasure is trying to seek out all pleasures and doing it for your life. Pleasure changes from person to person. For example, one might find greatest pleasure in family, another can be sex, drugs and rock and roll, and another could be sitting in the basement shooting heroine
- Pleasure is not "the good" because you cannot pursue everything that brings you pleasure. Some pleasures should also be avoided.
The life of trying to please other people/have a good reputation
- Being able to think abstractly and being the thing that appreciates reasons. You don't need things around you to think abstractly.
- You have to be responsive to reasons; you can give reasons for your beliefs and actions and you can understand other people's reasons.
- The function of a human is to ultimately use their rationality so whatever the good turns out to be, it has to be linked to the use of rationality.
- The function of an organism is tied to the kind of soul it has.
- The soul (mind) is broken up into 3 parts.
- Vegetative- being able to grow (plants)
- Perceptive- being able to experience things (senses) and action (moving around and acting) (animals)
- Rational- focuses on reasons and abstract thought. We can think about things that aren't in front of us. (special to humans)
- Something that is functioning properly.
- Two kinds of virtues- moral and intellectual.
- Moral deals with action (training) and is tied to picking means.
- Intellectual deals with thoughts (learning) and is tied to picking ends.
How to achieve ends.
- Using positive/negative reinforcement to form a habit. You train children to say thank you.
- Raising a child is training at first, but once they can understand reasoning then you can start teaching. They are teachable if they are properly trained
Passing information from one person to another
The kind of person you are
The abilities to do various things
Emotions you may have
- Used by Ancient Greeks to explain motion.
- Anything that moves on their own has a soul. For example, magnets have souls
- Actions that come from inside you.
- They aren't forced or from ignorance
Actions that come from force or ignorance.
Picking means to ends.
- In Book 3, it only applies to means. You deliberate to choose eans
- In Book 6, deliberation is thinking about either means or ends
When you are good at picking ends. People who are good at picking goals are practically wise.
Why can't ethics be precise? What does this mean?
Ethics cannot be precise because human nature is too complicated. This means that there is no rule book for life and there is not always a definite answer for what is right and what is wrong.
Can a person know he or she is happy while alive?
- No one can know for sure if they are truly happy because something can happen which changes your life.
- Virtue is very stable so it tends to stay, but it cannot be guaranteed.
What behaviors are associated with virtues, and why?
- Courage, temperance, and magnificence are some examples of virtues.
- Courage is the mean between cowardice and rashness
- Temperance is the mean between insensibility and self-indulgence
- Magnificence is the mean between stinginess and tastlessness
Why do moral virtue and practical wisdom go together?
- Moral virtue is tied to picking means and practical wisdom is tied to picking ends. They go together because you cannot have means without ends or ends without means of getting there.
- Aristotle states that they improve together and are at the same level for a person, however, it is possible for a person to be great at picking ends but not being able to choose the proper means to achieve them.
What is contemplation?
- The life of contemplation is the life of happiness.
- Contemplation requires humans to have rationality and they must be properly using their abilities. They must also have and apply both moral and intellectual virtue in their daily lives.
Theory: One must be virtuous to perform virtuous actions.
- Objection- Virtuous people and virtuous actions are separate entities.
- Virtuous people are people who perform virtuous acts over and over again until they become habits.
- A virtuous action is simply an action a virtuous person would do in that situation.
Happiness is linked to rationality, which is the function of humans.
Aristotle states that humans have 3 types of souls: vegetative, perceptive, and rational. The rational portion is the one that allows humans to have abstract thought. This means that they are able to think about things that aren't truly there. Without the capabilities of abstract thought, humans would not be able to live the fullest life. Happiness is linked to rationality because it is "the good" that each person is working towards and the goal of life has to be connected to the function of humans. Humans are capable of happiness because they have rationality.
Happiness is not wealth, honor, or pleasure.
Aristotle states this because neither wealth, honor, or pleasure are final. Each can bring their own happiness for a short period of time, but once it goes away you must find another way to bring yourself joy. Wealth, honor and pleasure also are not self-sufficient. Those qualities alone do not bring you happiness. For example, you want money to be able to buy nice things which you only want because it will make you happy. Just having a bunch of money lying around will not make you happy.
Theory: Wealth and honor are not the good.
"The good" is the ultimate reason for human existence therefore it must be something that makes all of the hardships worth enduring. Wealth and honor, although are nice qualities to have, they are pursued in order to receive a greater good which is happiness. You want money to get more things, you want honor to feel feel good about yourself.
Theory: The function of humans is rationality (in addition to perception and growth).
The function of humans is rationality because it allows us to have abstract thoughts. This means that they can think of things without having them directly in front of them. People apply their rationality because it allows them to live a fuller life. A person that has rationality, but does not apply is not truly rational. This being the fact that it would completely irrational for a person who is capable of rationality to not apply it.
Theory: Moral virtue is the result of training.
Although moral virtue can be the result of training, I believe it actually requires a mixture of training and learning. Moral virtue is tied to picking means and it would be difficult for people to be morally virtuous when making decisions if they weren't trained to do so in a certain situation. Moral virtue may initially begin with training, but it must transition into learning in order for a person to apply what they know to new situations.
Theory: One becomes virtuous by performing virtuous actions over and over until it becomes a habit.
It is true that people can become virtuous if they perform virtuous actions over and over again because you do not have to be a virtuous person to perform a virtuous action. A virtuous action is simply one that a virtuous person would do in that situation. I believe, however, that people have to form the habit of picking the correct virtue, but they must also learn which is the mean between two extremes. Different situations come up everyday and if someone is only virtuous out of habit, then they might not know which would be the correct action to take in a foreign situation.
Theory: Practical Wisdom is the intellectual virtue related to happiness.
Practical wisdom is the ability to pick good ends. This is not always related to happiness because you may pick a great end that is unattainable. Since it is unattainable, the grueling process to attempt to get it will not be worth it leaving you upset.
Theory: Pleasure is not the good.
- Although pleasure may seem like the good since you only seek it out for the purpose of gaining pleasure, but it is not. It is not this for several reasons.
- The first one being pleasure is not lasting. Once the sensation of pleasure wears off, you have to search for more.
- Another one is the fact that you cannot pursue all things that bring you pleasure. For example, having a family can bring you pleasure, but having freedom can also bring you pleasure. You have to pick which one brings you the most pleasure.
- Lastly, some pleasures should be avoided.
Theory: The good-- happiness-- is contemplation.
The life of contemplation requires excellence in both moral virtue and practical wisdom. It is also believed that they must improve together which is not true because it is possible for a person to be great at picking means but terrible at picking ends and vise versa. Contemplation also requires people to use their rationality, but in order to truly live the life of contemplation you must realize that you are using all three of those aspects. I believe that contemplation can help bring about happiness, but that alone will not be happiness like how honor alone is not the good.
Theory: Virtuous actions are what the virtuous person would perform.
This is true but you do not have to be virtuous to perform these actions. A virtuous person comes about when a person repeats these actions.