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Ethics and society - Essay Example

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Ethics and society

In order for one to determine the true nature of human happiness, it is essential to take note of the function of human beings. This is so because an individual’s happiness consists of the fulfillment of the natural function, in the direction towards which his being is focused. The natural function in question should be something that is essential and unique to human beings. The rational part of the soul is as important as the spirited parts. The rational part is what is used to determine an individual’s identity. This translates to mean that the happiness of human beings is depicted in the activity of the soul, whether the spirited part or the rational part. This kind of activity is normally expressed through ethical virtues or rather, it is expressed when one focuses his actions according to reason. Aristotle, in his book says that friendship is defined by the principles of virtue and goodness. When people recognize the virtues in each other, they may become true friends. The nature of friendship is determined by the motive of individuals to become friends in the first place. Real friendship is accompanied by great understanding of each other, and this in turn is a great source of happiness. Every human being loves to feel cared for by another person. Another reason to believe that friendship based on good is indeed a necessary part of happiness is that it is accompanied by mutual respect and trust, as well as support and selfless cooperation with each other. All these things are part of what makes human beings happy. Without such virtues found in true friendship, then human beings would have empty souls. Aristotle candidly states that friendship based on good cannot be separated from happiness, that is, having friends is by all means part and parcel of being happy. There may be no limit or minimum of the number of true friends that one may need in order to be happy. However, Aristotle says that an individual can have close friendship with an extremely limited number of people simultaneously. Friendship is by all means an important part of human life. Aristotle says, “there are three types of friendship: friendship based on pleasure, usefulness and virtue (Book VIII Chapter 3).” Friendship based on virtue is the only genuine friendship. Friendship based on either usefulness or pleasure tends not to last for long. This means that it will only last for as long as each individual or party derives the pleasure or usefulness he wants from the relationship. Friendship based on the good translates to friendship based on virtues. Virtue based friendship entails wishing good for other people. This kind of friendship is indeed genuine and is necessary for all individuals to be able to grow holistically and gain self-knowledge. Friendship based on good presupposes justice, encompassed in many other virtues. The most outstanding virtue of a friend is love. Aristotle posits interestingly that the existing relationship between friends is more like the harmonious relationship between the different parts of the soul of a man of virtue. Aristotle views friendship as being equivalent to self-love. This may seem as though he is advocating for some sought of egoism. Aristotle is quick to rule out this conclusion by outlining the distinction between the good and the negative forms of self-love. Aristotle argues that real or true self-love ...Show more

Summary

Name: Instructor: Course Date Ethics and Society Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics is a philosophical text that inquires into the nature of the good life that is bound to be enjoyed by human beings. Aristotle posits that there exists some ultimate good towards which, all human actions in the final analysis, ultimately aim…
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Ethics and society essay example
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