Aristotle And The Concept Of Happiness Philosophy
In this paper, I wish to explore the concept of happiness as well as Aristotle's take on it. I think for most of us, we rarely stop and think about what happiness is even though we cannot deny that its inevitable existence. For some people, they are indulged in materialism everyday. I dug out a past composition written by one of the primary school students, asking them what is happiness, and the student wrote: "what is happiness? happiness is living with a heart of joyous spirit, happiness is a heart rid of worries and sorrow, and sadness, what is happiness? Happiness is the medicine to good health, due to the effects if happiness, all pain and illnesses can be discarded. What is happiness? It is the key to a long life and no matter who you are you can live your life in happiness?" Now that student who is a friend of mine, has reached adulthood, has obviously changed, and I don't mean just physically, but more importantly,in the way he thinks, he now regards money as the first and foremost priority, as well as dating women or having sex, according to him, life without money and women cannot be happy, but a simple comparison on the previous composition by the very same guy shows how astonishing his change was. It is one of my major points that everyone has a different definition of what happiness is or what happiness means to them, and that definition changes along with time, when one's personal believes or opinions or convictions change as he progress through life, they change because of a myriad of reasons, no social scientists can pin down exactly what they are but those changes are nevertheless very real and a direct correspondence of the direct interaction between the person and his or her environment, that very same classmate of mine might hold happiness in a totally different regard in the future
Aristotle describes three types of life in his search for human florishing: lives of gratification, politics, and contemplation. He contends that there is a single Idea of Good that all men seek, and he finds that happiness, or eudaimonia, best fits his criteria. Aristotle investigates the human purpose to find how happiness is best achieved, and finds that a life of activity and contemplation satisfies our purpose, achieving the most complete happiness in us. Aristotle is correct regarding the necessity of activity, but restricts the theory to only the life of study. We will reject this restriction, and instead allow any life of virtue and productivity to substitute for Aristotle's life of study. One primary means of remaining active to achieve happiness includes loving friendships, which only happen to the virtuous. Thus human flourishing is living a life of virtue, activity, and productivity.
Aristotle proposes that we have a single Idea of Good which is both complete and self-sufficient, chosen entirely for itself, and that end is happiness. He must establish these three claims:
Idea of Good Claim 1) We have ends which we choose for themselves.
Idea of Good Claim 2) That there is only one such end.
Idea of Good Claim 3) That end is happiness.
He argues for Idea of Good Claim 1) as follows (Irwin 173):
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