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Ethics - Essay Example

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Ethics

Aristotle’s Human Function Argument: Based on the human function argument, Aristotle had argued that a clear concept of happiness can be realized if the human function could be studied and understood. It reflects that every function or activity of human beings contains the goodness or happiness in it based on rationality of the function. Thus with the rational part of the human soul performing an activity or a particular function, the goodness or happiness takes place. Aristotle had considered happiness to be the best good that could have happened to a human being. Thus in order to determine the goodness in man, Aristotle’s function argument states that the function of the human needs to be ascertained. Also, according to him, human life has been stated to be common to plants, as well as to animals thereby having an active life element with rationality (Korsgaard 129-132). The arguments presented by Aristotle as part of the function argument includes: “(1) Humans must have a function, or else they would be idle, which is absurd; (2) Each human body part has a function, so the whole human must likewise have a function; (3) The human function is unique to only humans themselves; (4)Human function is not growth and nutrition because these aspects of life are shared with plant; (5)Human function is not sense perception because this aspect of life is shared with animal; (6)The part of the human soul with reason is unique to human; (7) The bare capacity of reason is insufficient to constitute a life function; and (8) Therefore, the human function is activity of the part of the soul that expresses or requires reason” (Pritchett). Failure of the Function Argument: Although Aristotle tried his best to determine the human function reflecting the happiness and goodness factors in human, his beliefs could not stand alone against the questions and criticisms that were raised. Aristotle could not place his arguments successfully as he lacked supportive arguments over the premises he focused on. He could not explain the reason for human function to be considered as unique. When he said that human function is common to plants, it raised questions on the fact as to how two things can be similar only because they share some activities in common. Also, when he stated about animals, it is not clear whether he meant to say that humans only have functions and animals do not have any function. Different functions can be associated with different features or a same function can be presented in different ways by different individuals or animals. Hence Aristotle’s arguments could not present clearly the meanings of the premises (Pritchett). Critics also could not realize how the goodness of a human being can be associated with the good performance or activity of the individual even if there is a function present in human beings. Questions could be raised on several thoughts. For example, even if it is believed to be true that goodness of a human is based on the good activity of the human, question arises whether it is good to be a good human or whether every the goodness of every single human can be determined the same, and so on (Korsgaard 131). Thus ...Show more

Summary

Name Surname Professor Name Subject Date Ethics Introduction: According to Aristotle’s Function Argument, it had been stated that “the human function is the activity of the soul that expresses or requires reason” (Pritchett). Although Aristotle had based his argument presenting eight arguments for the human function, yet the arguments faced several criticisms, as many of his arguments had raised questions on the minds of the critics…
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Ethics essay example
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