Plato and Aristotle’s Views on Happiness
Plato and Aristotle’s Views on Happiness

Plato and Aristotle’s Views on Happiness

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  • Pages: 6 (2843 words)
  • Published: November 21, 2021
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There are many perspectives on the issue of happiness. Many have taken part and will continue to front ideas on what happiness is all about. There are many points of divergence on the matter but what most agree is the definition that happiness is all about getting what we want or what we most want. (Martin, 2012)
Proverbs have also come in handy to shed light on this matter. Happiness consists not in getting what we want but rather in wanting what we get. This proverb paints a unique picture of happiness, but it involves getting something at the end. Or as another proverb would have it, happiness entails the experience of the journey rather than the destination; it is more about how to pursue goals than the successes obtained in reaching them.

This just goes to showing the diversity in the matter of happiness. Through history attempts have been made to give better definitions. Philosophers Plato and Aristotle too had different thoughts on this theme. Both converged on the idea that happiness was an important factor in life. Plato bases his argument that happiness is as a result of justice in life while Aristotle’s thought revolve around happiness being good for people leading to it being a goal for humanity. This essay will go a long way in determining their major thoughts, arguments of each philosopher and illustrating the impact of philosophy on contemporary views.
It is clear that happiness has its ambiguity. Its primary meaning that has been assigned to it takes a position of positive emotions. In determining happy state, the determinants are varying for different agents. W

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hat makes one individual happy may not be necessarily the same to another. It is intrinsically psychological. (Miller, 2010) Due to its psychological nature and its determination is not based on the objection conditions of life itself, then it is subjective.
Looking at it from another perspective, happiness may be derived from aspects that aren’t emotional nor are they described to specific circumstances of life of a person, then considering agents having special insights into their happiness would not hold water. Expecting that happiness will be derived from some specific aspects of an individual in all considerations, it is barely subjective. Instead, to that extent as it relies on the gratification of set conditions that hold for the whole population, it becomes objective. (Miller, 2010) This is as far as the English consideration is applied, dating back in ancient times, happiness was more objective than being subjective.

From the Greek terminology and writings, discussions on happiness was based on eudaimonia. The word is compound having eu as the prefix (This meant “well” or “being in an abundance”) the noun daimon follows (the power that controls an individual’s destiny.) Another Greek word that was used in the place of happiness was Makarios. (This meant being blessed and used about the gods)

Aristotle is notoriously known to having a preference of using this term in his writings of happiness. (Miller, 2010) Aristotle links blessedness to the god’s activities that are superior and human activities that are akin to the gods will often lead to th

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state of happiness. (McMahon, 2010).
Aristotle’s way of writing has been attributed to being unusually complex and elusive marked by peculiarities, including matters that appear needlessly repetitive and deviation to self-contradiction. (Bartlett, 2008). In Aristotle’s opinion, happiness greatly depends on each specifically and not anybody else. He holds that happiness is the sole purpose in human life that is a goal to be attained.

This in essence made him devolve a lot of his work on the theme of happiness more than other thinkers in his era. Through his work, he gives conclusion that happiness involves refinement of virtue. The virtues from his point of view are in a way a lot more based on an individual rather than the social virtues. However, Aristotle believed that happy life genuinely required fulfilling some set conditions that were encompassing to include both the physical and mental wellbeing. He ended up introducing a new field of knowledge that was an idea of application of science in happiness considerations.

Aristotle’s analytic thinking on the issue of happiness opens bit by bit. He gives surveys of opinions pertaining the principal of the goods wrapped up with actions, the good aspired by politics or the political art. (Bartlett, 2008) It the majority comes out to support claims that that a specific good is happiness, then this opens up to several ways as views in which it might be established. Incisively, three things are addressed by Aristotle, possessions that one can insure or make up out happiness. These he names as pleasure, wealth and honor. (Bartlett, 2008).

Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s work that ranks among the most influential presents the issue of happiness as a theoretical ideal (eudaimonia). He makes two assumptions here; the major ingredient to happiness is pure activity and that the virtue in the question is to be understood as a set of tendencies to respond with the necessary feelings and conduct to human situations. (Broadie, 2005) This theory is in a big way still applicable even in recent times. The important question sought answers for is the ultimate purpose for the existence of humans and the goal which all activities that pertain to man should be directed to.
In as much as human are always bent to seek pleasure, reputation, power among other things, it is not without a doubt that all these have some certain value. What is most important though is that none of them can attain the level of being primary good, an aspect that all humanity should aim for. Aristotle fronts that a big percentage of humanity would agree that happiness is the end result of requirements as something that is always desirable in its form and cannot be replaced by something else. This should also be within man’s reach. In all that we seek to get, it is quite clear that happiness is the ultimate price that we all aim for. It is indeed a satisfying end.

An important feature in Aristotle’s argument is the link between happiness and virtue. These concepts are defined intertwined in efforts to achieve happiness. It is expected that a person is to be of good character morally

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