Presentation on theme: "Aristotle and the Good Life. The Good When a thing has a proper operation, the good of the thing and its well-being consist in that operation."— Presentation transcript:
Aristotle and the Good Life
The Good When a thing has a proper operation, the good of the thing and its well-being consist in that operation
The Good A good computer is one that functions well.
A good saw cuts well A good plant acts according to its nature (functions well). Grows, reproduces, nourishes itself. A good dog functions well
A good man functions well Man’s specific operation (function): Intellect (to think) Will (to choose) Hence, a good man reasons well and chooses well.
Every Agent Acts for an End (Final Cause) Happiness (Eudaimonia)
Earlier Questions: If it is possible to achieve everything that one has set out to achieve in life and in the end find oneself unhappy, then does it not follow that happiness is not necessarily doing what you want to do? If it is possible to have a wife/husband, children, house, and a good job, and at the same time still be unhappy, does it not follow that happiness is not necessarily having a wife/husband, children, house, and a good job? Yes, it follows with irrefutable logic
What then is happiness? Happiness Not something that comes from the outside in Rather, happiness is an inside job Not something that comes from the outside in
Happiness (eudaimonia) Chosen, not determined Happiness is an activity, not a passivity
Socrates: happiness is the perfection of the soul. In other words, happiness is goodness, virtue. Aristotle: partly true. Happiness is the perfection of the highest powers in man, as well as the lower powers. It is the perfection of the intellect, the will, as well as the perfection of the concupiscible and irascible appetites.
Why? Because virtue perfects the powers of the soul. In other words, virtue disposes the powers of the soul to their proper activity. Happiness: Activity in accordance with perfect virtue
If happiness is the fulfillment of human nature, what is the highest power in human nature? Reason (intelligence) All men by nature desire to know.
Theoretical Contemplation Knowing the highest things...the activity of our intelligence constitutes the complete happiness of man,...So if it is true that intelligence is divine in comparison with man, then a life guided by intelligence is divine in comparison with human life. We must not follow those who advise us to have human thoughts, since we are only men, and mortal thoughts, as mortals should; on the contrary, we should try to become immortal as far as that is possible and do our utmost to live in accordance with what is highest in us. Supreme End (Good)
The human person must strive to know, to develop his mind, to enjoy the contemplation of truth But man is not a “separate substance” (pure form). Man is a rational animal.
Concupiscible Appetite Sense appetite: whose object is the “sensible good”. Gives rise to the emotions of love, desire, satisfaction, or hate, aversion, and sorrow
Irascible Appetite Sense appetite: whose object is the difficult sensible good or difficult sensible evil. Gives rise to emotions of hope and despair
Irascible Appetite Sense appetite: the object of this appetite might be a sensible evil that is difficult to surmount. Gives rise to the emotions of fear, daring, anger
Sometime the appetites rebel against reason I.e., The person who easily gives up when things become difficult. The person who runs when there is danger.
The person who cannot hold a job because he has no self-control over alcoholic drink. The person who has no control over his sexual appetite, and so can think of nothing other than sex. Sometime the appetites rebel against reason
The good life begins by bringing order (proper form) to one’s life.
Ordered Life Concupiscible appetiteIrascible appetite Will Reason
The Kalon (the morally beautiful) The morally right The noble The good The beautiful The happy man is the noble man. Noble (kalon): attractive, morally beautiful, virtuous.
The Intellectual Virtues: Wisdom, Science, Understanding. The Intellect The Will The irascible appetite The concupiscible appetite Prudence – Practical Wisdom Justice Fortitude Temperance The Moral Virtues Beautiful (Nobel) Character
Why is this more in accordance with the facts? It’s not having a wife/husband, children, house, and a good job that will make one happy, since many who have such things remain unhappy. Only a virtuous person will be able to be a good husband/wife, a good parent, and a person committed to the good of the state. It isn’t doing what you want that renders one happy, but willing the good, the noble, the beautiful, I.e good character. It is impossible for a virtuous person (character) to be unhappy
The Virtues A Mean Between Two Extremes
Temperance and its parts
Moderate love of one’s own excellence
The virtue that subjects the emotion of anger to the demands of reason
The virtue which inclines one to dress honestly, simply, and ordinarily (as opposed to dressing provocatively, or extravagantly)
The virtue that moderates fear and daring
The virtue that moderates the emotion of sorrow, disposing one to endure a difficult and trying situation for the sake of the good.
The virtue by which one stretches forth towards great and honorable ends.
Doing great and honorable things with great wealth
Justice: The constant will to render to another that which is due to him or her.
Spending money on the flesh that leads one to take no pleasure in virtue The proper and reasonable stewardship of excess riches Inordinate love of possessing
The virtue of speaking and acting in accord with truth. We have a moral debt to express ourselves truthfully.
Vindication: the virtue by which one, in conformity with relevant circumstances, observes due measure in meting out punishment to one who has committed some moral offense. It is willing of punishment for the sake of preserving the just order and restraining evildoers.
Affability: the virtue by which one promotes and maintains agreeable relations in social life. It is a friendliness, an establishment of cordial relations with others (not the same as friendship).
The virtue inclining the will to correct law when law fails to apply in particular instances.
The Most Important Virtues Allied with Justice Veneration (Observance): The virtue by which we show honor and respect to persons who are in a position of dignity and/or authority. Ie, Leaders of State, Court Justices, teacher, vice- principal, police officer, etc.,.
The Most Important Virtues Allied with Justice Religion: The habit of rendering in some way what is due to God (Aristotle = the gods). external acts: sacrifice internal acts: prayer
The Most Important Virtues Allied with Justice Piety: that part of justice by which we render due honour and worship to parents and country, as well as ancestors (those who have gone before us, leaving us the goods they worked to achieve).
Prudence The intellectual/moral virtue which rightly directs particular human acts, through rightly ordered appetite, toward a good end. A prudent man does not merely know what is good. He is above all one who does the good. Right appetite is thus part and parcel of prudence. Ie., one who does not will justice cannot be prudent.
Universal principles certainty Particular situations less certain Requiring a special virtue, an intellectual/moral virtue (requiring right appetite)
Integral Parts of Prudence Memory Understanding of first principles Docility Shrewdness Discursive Reasoning Foresight Circumspection Caution
Integral Parts of Prudence Memory An inability to learn from experience, to reflect upon the past in order to better understand the present.
Integral Parts of Prudence Understanding of first principles Good is to be done, evil is to be avoided Do not do to another what you do not like One ought not to do evil that good may come of it One ought to speak the truth. One ought not to kill.
Integral Parts of Prudence Docility The recognition of one’s finitude and need for advice. The ability to learn from others, to seek out and accept their advice. An open-mindedness
Integral Parts of Prudence Shrewdness solertia Clear-sighted objectivity in unexpected circumstances The ability to quickly size up a situation Intuitive.
Secondary Instances of the Kalon See Next Slide The good life also includes secondary aspects that add to the happy life. They do not constitute the happy life, but they add to it. Many people today confuse the secondary instances of the Kalon with the primary. Happiness is found in virtue, not in these secondary instances.
Pleasure Good Health and Appearance Proper Nourishment and Sustenance Full Life Span Friendship and Cooperation with Others Respectable Family Origin Leisure, good fortune Sufficient wealth
Friendship Friendship based on utility – I.e., between business partners. The other is loved for the benefits that accrue to me. Friendship based on pleasure – I.e, between two people who find each other physically attractive. This ends when the thrill and novelty wears off (gets old). The other is loved for what he or she does for me. Friendship based on virtue (benevolence) – This loved is based on character. The other is loved because his character is noble. The other is loved for his/her own sake, not for my sake. This is the only genuine and lasting friendship.