Essay #2

Essay #2 - Tony Jones March 30th 2009 Prof Albertson What...

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Tony Jones March 30 th , 2009 Prof. Albertson What is a good life? Nature Vs. Prudence: Which is superior in providing the good life? What is the good life, and how can it be obtained? A question that many ancient philosophers, such as Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius, have tried to answer. Although both theories are very different in practice, some commonalities exist between the two that allow the good to be obtained. Both believe that the good is stemmed by the capacity of being rational. Rationality is the capability of making moral judgments through reason of the mind, which results in a certain action in a particular situation. According to both Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius, humans are the only ones who are capable of being rational; thus humans are the only moral agents. Secondly, man is by nature a social being; thus, man must preserve the good of the community as it coincides with the good of the individual. Men that follow the laws of the community, is an example that helps to depict this relationship. However, despite these commonalities, Aristotle and Marcus Aurelius propose completely different methods in achieving the good. Aristotle, in short, proposes that the ultimate virtue of prudence is the key to reach the highest good, or happiness. On the other hand, Marcus Aurelius and his fellow Stoics propose that if a rational being aligns their actions in accordance with Nature by following the predestined path that the divine has created upon their behalf, the Gods will bless them with the highest good, or perfect tranquility of the mind. Thus, Aristotle’s prudence and the Stoics’ idea of Nature provide a meta-ethical parallel in that they both provide a mechanism that enables an individual to live a “good” life. However, despite this parallel, Aristotle’s idea of prudence provides a
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superior mechanism in obtaining the good life. Unlike Stoicism, Aristotle’s idea of prudence allows the individual to partake in the lives of those who are of concern to him, as well as form friendships within his community. Secondly, the prudent man is able to enjoy the good pleasures that life has to offer mankind, which is not tolerated by the Stoics. Lastly, and most importantly, Aristotle’s prudence suggests that the good life can only be achieved through the voluntary and habitual actions executed by the soul of the individual over time, as opposed to Nature and the predestined will of the Gods as suggested by the Stoics. First, let us analyze the Stoic’s answer to our proposed question and then establish the reasons behind its insufficiency. Marcus Aurelius, and all Stoics alike, believe that the ultimate good is tranquility of the mind. This can only be achieved by aligning one’s actions in accordance with Nature, making the actions inherently good, and by accepting the predestined Nature that the Gods have created on behalf of oneself. In order to perform actions in accordance with Nature, one must first recognize where his own Nature lies and accept that all things
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This note was uploaded on 09/22/2009 for the course ARLT 100 taught by Professor Thompson during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Essay #2 - Tony Jones March 30th 2009 Prof Albertson What...

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