Third Exam Study Guide
1.) What is the ultimate good (also the ultimate
or end) of human beings,
according to their nature as a certain kind of creature? Explain the relationship of
the ultimate end to intermediate ends with respect to motivation. (7 points).
-Human nature is the key to ethics/Rational animality
Aristotle views Human Nature as the key to ethics.
Rational animals (soul,
body), Generalize laws. Language. Risibility (potential to laugh), Courage,
Everyone pursues “happiness” (eudaimonia- good spirit; human flourishing)
as their final cause. –first cause = motivation.
means to an end:
class, degree, jobs, money, ect.
Ends in themselves: family, recreation, learning, scholarship.
THE final end:
All ends in themselves jointly constitutive of Human
2.) Explain the ‘Function Argument,’ which defines the function of human beings.
-Anything that is living has a function/ a race horse’s purpose is to win a race/a
human’s function is to be rational and make use of their soul that they have. And
when a human uses activity of the soul a human can then become virtuous.
Prudence; ability to choose which virtues to use at any point in time
EX; a firefighter is in a burning building and has the ability to not take out a table
of wine and cheese; this is prudence which allows him to not do this and save
people in the burning building.
Anything that has a proper function (
, lit. “work” or “thing done”) is
judged by how well it performs that function. For example, the function of
a shoemaker is to make shoes, and he is judged as a shoemaker by how
well he does so.
Does man (human beings), simply as man, have a function? Yes. It would
be absurd to suppose that man “was left by nature a good-for-nothing
without a function” (1097b30).
What is this function? Since it is the specifically human function, it will be
something that man does not share with plants or animals. That rules out
nutrition, growth, and the life of sense perception.
The remaining choice is “an active life of the rational element”
practike tis tou logon echontos
) (1098a2). Since a proper
function is a kind of activity, Aristotle emphasizes that he means activity
governed by the rational element, and not mere possession of it.
This result is summarized in the following definition: the proper function
of man is “activity of the soul in conformity with reason” (
energeia kata logon
Now we can apply to man the general rule stated by (1). The good for man
is simply that which is exhibited by someone who performs the
specifically human function well. In general, “if a function is performed