Aristotle’s Ethical Theory
In philosophy, Aristotle’s theory can be interpreted as emphasizing how people conduct themselves. According to this theory, virtues are habits that result in a good life of gratuitous practice. By interpreting from Greek, Aristotle makes use of words that carry meanings correlated to ethics. He argues that virtue is a balance that enables people to judge what appears good and bad to them. He describes the soul’s active state as one enabling the authority of the soul to work (Armstrong, 2017). In order to act ethically, a person has to get rid of all the obstacles that hinder the full potential of the soul. In his ethical theory, Aristotle discusses Eudemonia which is interpreted to mean happiness or better living and states that all actions of humans aim to achieve it.
Aristotle identifies Eudemonia with the spirit. Eudemonia is the movement of a perceptive or sensitive soul that is related to prudence. Here, a sound mind means a person whereas greatness is comparable with prudence. In his argument, he states that the spirit of a person can be divided into two parts, the rational and the irrational, or the reasonable and the unreasonable. Also an impartial soul can be divided into hypothetical as well as the commonsensical reason (Armstrong, 2017). Here, theoretical reason tries to get the importance of tentative thoughts, such as math and science.
As argued by Aristotle, people need to discern the function of a human being to comprehend what leads to our happiness. The innate function of humans must be something explicit to them. The soul of a person being is spiritual and desire, which is an excellent attribute that assists us determine the identity of a person. For people to be happy, their souls must be active in accordance with reason. The activity of the soul is conveyed via ethical implicit when an individual acts in accordance to the idea (Hutchinson, 2015). An individual who often does right builds up good behavior, and the right character is attained when the individual has the right character that helps them to achieve their happiness.
Aristotle further argues that moral virtue is something that is practiced and is translated into action by conscious choice, implying that virtue is not a thing that an individual can separate himself or herself from but rather a thing that he or she can do out of control most of the time. Therefore, an action is right when an individual does not know that he or she is doing it to be rated as such, but because he or she is doing it since it is the right to be done (Simpson, 2017). Regarding to ethical virtue, prudence is indispensable because it is used to establish how an individual tackles every situation.
Aristotle maintains that happiness relates to pleasure or an individual being happy. Nevertheless, different things please different people in their own ways. Aristotle separates reason into various parts to elucidate this fact. A virtue that is obligatory for pleasure or happiness cannot be achieved without a realistic reason. Also, where exists a probable reason, there exists a hypothetical or speculative reason, and the basis of a hypothetical reason is a consideration of truth. For instance, animals observe a type of sensible wisdom, but they do not think of general truths (Simpson, 2017). The aptitude to exhibit sensible wisdom as well as happiness comprises the superior activity of hypothetical reasoning.
Happiness is about the entire life of a person. It is agreeable that Eudemonia is good, but there is no general agreement or consensus on what makes us Eudemon. Aristotle resolve this mystery by stating that being Eudemon is not about searching animal pleasure but rather by doing what is good for humans. He accentuates that Eudemonia does not relate to material things or richness since money is utilized to achieve an end. Then, money is among the things that contribute to Eudemonia (Prior, 2016). What an individual wants to be recognized, commend, or rewarded for is what is good.
Aristotle sympathizes that most individuals would want to be commended or recognized for their virtues. Possessing certain virtues, for instance, being courageous and intelligent is not sufficient. A person requires being active because inactivity while still living is not the end of human beings in life. Therefore, a person may have several virtues but suffer huge adversity or bad luck in life which may not be seen as a high-quality life (Prior, 2016). As a result, virtue must come with an active soul as well as good luck.
Humans do various things like achieving knowledge, respect, and pleasure but mainly for Eudemonia. Doing something because of both Eudemonia and pleasure requires us to differentiate between external as well as constitutive means. For instance, we seek to be knowledgeable to learn how to live well with other people and also for Eudemonia. Nevertheless, Aristotle maintains that we do not want to live and do well to be seen to have attained a thing. If there is no ultimate goal that people seek for its sake, then it is all futile. As a result, the good character people exhibit should be independent or self-reliant. Individuals who have good habits as well as virtues which are self-determining live pleasing life (Hutchinson, 2015). Eudemonia is the most valuable thing, which cannot be modified. Including other objects in the life of an individual is to make those things part of Eudemonia.
Aristotle provides that people should try hard to live a life of hypothetical reason. If they do this, people will achieve happiness and appreciate the best things that exist in them. Nevertheless, human beings need more than just happiness. Consequently, the life of virtue makes up part of Eudemonia. People can be described as loving, living with one another, as well as everything that is good. Nevertheless, the life of virtue does not need much good originating from the outside. For most individuals, being happy cannot all be interpreted as virtuous. As such, education and laws are essential for shaping young people to realize their desires as well as passions.