The Aristotle Perspective Of Happiness

The Aristotle Perspective Of Happiness

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The Aristotle Perspective Of Happiness


Aristotle, student of Plato and teacher to Alexander the Great, was one of the great philosophers of Ancient Greece. His work led him to be one of the most important figures in Western thinking and philosophy. He is also one of the founding fathers in the study of happiness.

Popular view in Ancient Greece was that happiness was a right reserved only for the gods, and not something that was expected for mere mortals. Aristotle’s perspective of happiness challenged this. He introduced the suggestion that happiness is a state that we are all capable of achieving, even as mortals.

Aristotle believed that we are responsible for our own happiness. In other words, we can take decisive actions to achieve it. In fact, Aristotle believed so deeply in the notion that we choose happiness that in one of his most influential works, the "Nicomachean Ethics" he named it as the ultimate purpose of our existence.

For Aristotle, happiness, or "Eudaimonia" as it was called in Ancient Greece, was not the emotional state we regard it to be today, but instead the result of a journey, a way to achieve the most that you possibly can, a way to realize your full potential ie. being the best version of you that you can possible be. He saw the road to happiness as one of virtue and living life in balance and moderation. He believed that it wasn’t a single act that brought happiness, but the overall way in which you lived your life. If you lived your life with courage, kindness, generosity and prudence then you would achieve a sense of value, "eudaimonia" and happiness.

Aristotle highly regarded contemplation and consideration as one of the most important tools we have to achieve and assess virtue. Through contemplation we are able to weigh up our actions and measure their worth. Aristotle's ethics are sometimes referred to as "virtue ethics" because ultimately Aristotle regarded virtue as the goal and happiness as the by-product of that goal.

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The Aristotle Perspective Of Happiness

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