NicomacheanEthics - Christian Stork PH 10 Professor Drake...

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Christian Stork PH 10 Professor Drake November 17, 2007 Question Two Throughout Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics , one central idea continues to emerge as the principal argument of his teachings: the human function. Aristotle refines Plato’s preliminary tutelage by further examining what it means to seek the good in this world and to find out exactly how to reach that stage of thought. For Aristotle, the human function is to pursue that good, and the only means of pursuit lay in activity of the soul in accordance with reason. The good described is neither tangible nor finite, but instead serves as a nirvana of sorts; a level of consciousness that not only surmises all of the actions throughout our lives, but after achievement remains the highest possible stage of thought desired. Those who have obtained this good will not seek anything else in their life because they will have fulfilled all that needs to be consummated. In order to actualize this state of cognizance, we must apprehend the ability to decipher, on each occasion, which course of action is best supported by reason. Although virtuous action is evidently the path towards the good, defining virtuous action for each and every decision we face in our lives is trying. Aristotle attempts to elucidate this path for us by utilizing the “mean” in each of our lives. If the human function is activity of the soul in accordance with reason, than the relationship between reason and virtue must be examined in order to deduce the proper method by which to pursue virtuous action. Although in current times it seems as if nearly any way of life or decision can be defended, in ancient Greece there was a shared standard for ethical behavior. Therefore, a more concrete definition for reasonability
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existed. For Aristotle, the execution of reasonable thought most often consigned itself in discovering the mean of two extremes. The world consists of two means: the objective and the relative. The focal method of pursuing virtuous action is the latter. The relative mean is the middle path between excess and deficiency that works best for an individual.
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