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For Aristotle, the ontologically ultimate is theindividual.
But in fact, as Aristotle continues to develop his taxonomy, he doesnot choose to exploit this possibility. He speaks as though it is onlyin friendships based on character that one finds a desire to benefitthe other person for the sake of the other person. “Those whowish good things to their friends for the sake of the latter arefriends most of all, because they do so because of their friendsthemselves, and not coincidentally” (1156b9–11). When onebenefits someone not because of the kind of person he is, but onlybecause of the advantages to oneself, then, Aristotle says, one is nota friend towards the other person, but only towards the profit thatcomes one's way (1157a15–16).
Since Aristotle often calls attention to the imprecision of ethicaltheory (see e.g. 1104a1–7), it comes as a surprise to many readers ofthe Ethics that he begins Book VI with the admission that hisearlier statements about the mean need supplementation because theyare not yet clear (saphes). In every practical discipline,the expert aims at a mark and uses right reason to avoid the twinextremes of excess and deficiency. But what is this right reason, andby what standard (horos) is it to be determined? Aristotlesays that unless we answer that question, we will be none thewiser—just as a student of medicine will have failed to masterhis subject if he can only say that the right medicines to administerare the ones that are prescribed by medical expertise, but has nostandard other than this (1138b18–34).
House on whether Aristotle understood Plato.
Articulating an explicit and clear understandingof the end toward which a person's life aims, Aristotle states that eachhuman being should use his abilities to their fullest potential and shouldobtain happiness and enjoyment through the exercise of their realized capacities.
Accordingto Aristotle, human beings have a natural desire and capacity to know andunderstand the truth, to pursue moral excellence, and to instantiate theirideals in the world through action.
In this way, Aristotle wedded universals to objects.
There is no reason to attribute this extreme form of egoism toAristotle. On the contrary, his defense of self-love makes it clearthat he is not willing to defend the bare idea that one ought to loveoneself alone or above others; he defends self-love only when thisemotion is tied to the correct theory of where one's good lies, for itis only in this way that he can show that self-love need not be adestructive passion. He takes it for granted that self-love isproperly condemned whenever it can be shown to be harmful to thecommunity. It is praiseworthy only if it can be shown that aself-lover will be an admirable citizen. In making this assumption,Aristotle reveals that he thinks that the claims of other members ofthe community to proper treatment are intrinsically valid. This isprecisely what a strong form of egoism cannot accept.
Since Aristotle thinks that the pursuit of one's own happiness,properly understood, requires ethically virtuous activity and willtherefore be of great value not only to one's friends but to thelarger political community as well, he argues that self-love is anentirely proper emotion—provided it is expressed in the love ofvirtue (IX.8). Self-love is rightly condemned when it consists in thepursuit of as large a share of external goods—particularlywealth and power—as one can acquire, because such self-loveinevitably brings one into conflict with others and undermines thestability of the political community. It may be tempting to castAristotle's defense of self-love into modern terms by calling him anegoist, and “egoism” is a broad enough term so that,properly defined, it can be made to fit Aristotle's ethicaloutlook. If egoism is the thesis that one will always act rightly ifone consults one's self-interest, properly understood, then nothingwould be amiss in identifying him as an egoist.
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Aristotle distinguishesbetween matter and form.
This approach gives liberty moral significance by illustratinghow the natural right to liberty is a social and political condition necessaryfor the possibility of human flourishing the ultimate moral standardin Aristotelian ethics interpreted as a natural-end ethics.
Aristotle classifies economicsas a practical science.
Because Aristotle considers universals, concepts,or essences as metaphysical rather than as epistemological, it is difficult,if not impossible, for him to explain how one sees or intuits "good," "value,""ethical," and so on when he is confronted with various optional actionsor objects.
Aristotle essay Essay on the necklace plato essays
The imperfect friendships that Aristotle focuses on, however, are notunequal relationships based on good character. Rather, they arerelationships held together because each individual regards the otheras the source of some advantage to himself or some pleasure hereceives. When Aristotle calls these relationships“imperfect,” he is tacitly relying on widely acceptedassumptions about what makes a relationship satisfying. Thesefriendships are defective, and have a smaller claim to be called“friendships,” because the individuals involved havelittle trust in each other, quarrel frequently, and are ready to breakoff their association abruptly. Aristotle does not mean to suggestthat unequal relations based on the mutual recognition of goodcharacter are defective in these same ways. Rather, when he says thatunequal relationships based on character are imperfect, his point isthat people are friends in the fullest sense when they gladly spendtheir days together in shared activities, and this close and constantinteraction is less available to those who are not equal in theirmoral development.
Egoism is anintegral part of Aristotle's ethics.
His modern critics' explanation of Aristotle'sposition on ethical exactness is that it was a consequence of the intrinsicistelements of his epistemology.
Aristotle refers to thisprocess as intuitive induction.
That is why Aristotle says that what is judged pleasant by a good manreally is pleasant, because the good man is the measure of things(1176a15–19). He does not mean that the way to lead our lives is tosearch for a good man and continually rely on him to tell us what ispleasurable. Rather, his point is that there is no way of telling whatis genuinely pleasurable (and therefore what is most pleasurable)unless we already have some other standard of value. Aristotle'sdiscussion of pleasure thus helps confirm his initial hypothesis thatto live our lives well we must focus on one sort of good above allothers: virtuous activity. It is the good in terms of which all othergoods must be understood. Aristotle's analysis of friendship supportsthe same conclusion.
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