Aristotle - The Good Life and how to live it An analytical...

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The Good Life and how to live it An analytical essay by Tosh Lloyd (Topic 1: Virtue and the Nature of happiness) Prof: Sarah Stroud T.A: Bruno Guindon In this paper I will systematically analyze Aristotle’s proposed relationship between happiness and the virtuous life. Happiness, or “eudaimonia” is when humans perform their function in the most excellent way possible. But what is the human function? Aristotle argues that the function of man must be something uniquely human and then he proceeds to find out what it is. He does this by analyzing the components of the human soul. These include the nutritive soul, which is responsible for growth and reproduction, the perceptive soul for perception, the locomotive soul for motion and so on. He concludes that other animals have these functions as well and the only thing that is unique to human beings is the rational soul; therefore the function of man is an activity of the rational part of the soul in accordance with virtue; but why an activity in accordance with virtue? Aristotle clearly states, “we take the human function to be a certain kind of life, and take this life to be activity and actions that involve reason” (1098a14). Bear in mind that the purpose of his ethics is to find out what activities the supreme good i.e. eudaimonia (well-being) consists of. 1
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In the second part of the function argument, Aristotle draws an analogy between the function of a sculptor and the function of man in order to explain why it must be an activity in accordance with virtue. The function of a sculptor is to sculpt. A good sculptor will excel at sculpting. Likewise, a good man is one that will excel in exercising his faculties of reason. The Greek word for virtue (arête) is
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This note was uploaded on 12/10/2010 for the course PHIL 200 taught by Professor Mccall during the Spring '08 term at McGill.

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Aristotle - The Good Life and how to live it An analytical...

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