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Aristotles ethics: From Virtue to Friendship, the Golden Mean - Essay Example

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Aristotles ethics: From Virtue to Friendship, the Golden Mean

Therefore, every good action derives from another good action, and all goodness can be traced back to the Highest Good. This exponent of good has three characteristics: It's desirable for its own sake; it's not desirable for the sake of another good; all other goods are desirable for its sake. Roughly, one could go as far as to say something like "goodness is as goodness does - in and of itself, never against".
The highest Good resolves in eudaemonia. This word is usually translated as Happiness, but it can also mean Well-Being, as well as Flourishing. Man can achieve happiness by following his own design: "The function of Man is activity of Soul in accordance to reason, or at least not without reason". That is, one needs to understand what one is good at, what sets one apart from others, and by consistently doing it, fulfillment can be achieved. According to this philosopher, there are only two things for the man to do, which are reasoning and following reasoning, or perhaps feeling and transmitting, or maybe reflecting and acting.
"The Virtuous person sees the truth in each case, being as it were a standard and measure of them". Aristotle does not think that merely doing good actions is enough. One needs to nurture Virtue, and it is trough Virtue that true goodness arises spontaneously. It's more or less like in the old story that you should teach a hungry man how to fish, instead of simply giving him a fish. In the same manner, one should aim for Virtue, which is the source of Goodness, instead of merely trying to be good.
The author speaks of Nous, or the ability to reason, as the cause of Virtue, and he divides people in four groups accordingly: the Virtuous (enjoy doing what's right and do so without any moral dilemma); the Continent (do virtuous things most of the time, but must overcome conflict); the Incontinent (faced with the same moral conflict, usually choose against virtue), and the Vicious (see little value or interest in Virtue, and do not attempt it, at all). One thing he does not believe in is moral relativism (To Aristotle, certain emotions like hate, envy, jealousy, spite; and certain actions like adultery, theft, murder, are always wrong.)
Pleasure, in the Aristotelian view, is not caused merely by the lack of pain; rather, it comes from activity. Pleasure completes the activity " as a sort of consequent end, like the bloom of youths". An unknown author put it in similar terms, by saying that "the reward of the virtuous is Virtue itself, while the reward of the vicious is Vice". Since goodness justifies itself, so does pleasure; one obtains pleasure from doing the right thing, from strolling along the Good Path, the path to one's self-realization and fulfillment.
Similarly, Justice is the measure, as well as the consequence, of the Golden Mean (the middle way). It is also the cornerstone of social living. Aristotle speaks of two kinds of justice, Universal and Particular. It is the same Justice tough, merely with different focus. While the former is concerned with obeying laws, and the relation of Virtue to others, the latter deals with unjust profits from action, and divides in the distribution of visible goods, and the rectification in transactions. Universal Justice deals with the Law, while Particular ...Show more


Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." - 1094a (Nicomachean Book I, Ch. 1)
To Aristotle, Happiness is the result of doing the right thing, and the right thing is the action that results from Virtue…
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Aristotles ethics: From Virtue to Friendship, the Golden Mean
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