Aristotle The Good Life Essay

They may, for instance, pursue a particular kind of work with great dedication: e.g. fighting against racism; protecting the environment. Or they may be thoroughly immersed in and engaged with some particular community: e.g. The Greeks had a saying: Call no man happy until he’s dead. In fact, one might want to amend it to: Call no man happy until he’s long dead.scientific research, artistic creation, or scholarship. For sometimes a person can appear to live a fine life, and be able to check all the boxes—virtue, prosperity, friendship, respect, meaning, etc.—yet eventually be revealed as something other than what we thought they were.

They possess and practice many of the most important virtues.

It has been posed in different ways—How should one live? So when we say someone is living well or that they have lived a good life, we may simply mean that they are a good person, someone who is courageous, honest, trustworthy, kind, selfless, generous, helpful, loyal, principled, and so on.

There must be some end which is wanted for its own sake, and for the sake of which we want all the other ends (if we do not choose everything for the sake of something else — which involves an infinite regress). This is the the most authoritative and directive science.

It makes use of the other sciences and its end, the human good, includes their ends.

This moral conception of the good life has had plenty of champions.

Socrates and Plato both gave absolute priority to being a virtuous person over all other supposedly good things such as pleasure, wealth, or power. He argues that it is much better to suffer wrong than to do it; that a good man who has his eyes gouged out and is tortured to death is more fortunate than a corrupt person who has used wealth and power dishonorably. The morally good person, he claims, enjoys a sort of inner harmony, whereas the wicked person, no matter how rich and powerful he may be or how many pleasure he enjoys, is disharmonious, fundamentally at odds with himself and the world.

For many people, the well-being of their family, especially their children and grandchildren, is the main source of meaning in life. In ancient times, the definition of good fortune was to have lots of children who do well for themselves.

But obviously, there can be other sources of meaning in a person’s life.

But devout believers are confident that their piety will not be in vain.

Christian martyrs went singing to their deaths confident that they would soon be in heaven.


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