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Happiness and the Good Life. ARISITOTLE (384-322). The Purpose of Things. The purpose of the arts is some good. The purpose of inquiry is some good. The purpose of everything is some kind of good. The Means and the Ends. There is a difference between the means and the end.

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happiness and the good life

Happiness and the Good Life

ARISITOTLE (384-322)

the purpose of things
The Purpose of Things

The purpose of the arts is some good.

The purpose of inquiry is some good.

The purpose of everything is some kind of good.

the means and the ends
The Means and the Ends

There is a difference between the means and the end.

What is aimed at (the final goal) is the end.

What gets us there are the means.

The ends are always more valuable than the means.

many disciplines
Many Disciplines

There are many sciences.

There are many arts.

Each one has its own end, so there are many ends.

For instance, health is the end of medicine, victory the end of war, and wealth the art of economy.

subordinated ends
Subordinated Ends

1) The art of making bridles.

2) The art of horsemanship.

3) The art of what a soldier does.

4) The art of war.

The ends of the arts of 1,2,3, are subordinated to the end of the art of 4.

an ultimate end
An Ultimate End

If there is some end that we choose all others for its purpose, then it must be an end in itself.

This end must be one we choose for NO other reason.

It is always an END and NEVER a MEANS.

we should k now t his e nd
We Should Know This End.

It seems prudent if there is such an end that we would come to know it so that we could act in the most effective and efficient way toward achieving it.

Like an archer, she would want to know in which direction the definite mark is.

the individual and the state
The Individual and the State

There is a good or ultimate end for the individual

There is a good or ultimate end for the state.

They are the SAME

But to attain and secure the UE for the state (or for a number of people) is a much more grander and nobler undertaking than to attain and secure it just for an individual.

the state politics
The State : POLITICS

The inquiry of what is the ultimate good for the state is a POLITICAL inquiry.

precision necessary vs probable
Precision: Necessary vs. Probable

Precision or accuracy in statements should reflect the precision or accuracy the subject before us admits.

“Now things that are noble and just (with which Politics deals) are so various and so uncertain, that some think these are merely conventional and not by natural directions. There is a similar uncertainty also about what is good, because good things often do people harm … Our subject, then, and our data being of this nature, we must be content if we can indicate the truth roughly and in outline … probable conclusions.”

ultimate end
Ultimate End

Aim of Politics

The Good


Live well and Do well

what is happiness
What is Happiness?

Life of enjoyment: pleasure.

Life of the statesman: virtue or excellence.

Contemplative life: The life of the philosopher.



Human flourishing

the good and the functions of things
The Good and the Functions of Things

Does man have a function a purpose

The eye has a purpose

The hand and foot have a function and purposes.

“So we must suppose that man also has a some function over and above all these.”

man s nature
Man’s Nature

Life he has in common with plants and animals.

Life of nutrition and growth

Life of the senses

What humans have thatthey do not share with animals is the life whereby he acts – “the life of rational nature.”

virtue arete excellence
Virtue-Arete - Excellence

The good of man is the exercise of his faculties in accordance with excellence or virtue.

This he must due consistently and over time and not just in a few isolated instances

good things
Good Things

1) Good for the soul.

2)Good for the body.

3) External goods.

Acts are part of the soul. The happy man lives well and does well.


A kind of excellence

Excellence in disposition and acts that are excellent.

Pleasure because he who loves excellence and virtue will receive pleasure from acting virtuous or excellent.

“Their life, then does not need pleasure to be added to it as an appendage, but contains pleasure in itself.”

to be good is to
To be good is to…

To be good is to desire good and take pleasure in doing good.

To be good, it is necessary to take pleasure in noble deeds.

To be just, you must desire to do just things and take pleasure in doing just things.

To be called generous, you must desire to be generous and take pleasure in acting generously.

happiness and goodness
Happiness and Goodness

Happiness and Goodness are inseparable!

happiness and external goods
Happiness and External Goods

Happiness also requires external goods.

A certain amount of good fortune can also help one’s happiness.

Health, wealth, friends, good birth, good children, etc.

“for a man is not very likely happy if he is very ugly in person.”


Intellectual Virtue: Prudence (to reason well).

Moral Virtue: Temperance, Justice, and Fortitude.

moral virtue
Moral Virtue

Moral virtue is taught

One learns to be just by doing just things.

We acquire moral virtues by habit.

Moral virtue is a State of Character

States of character arise out of activities, i.e., what you say and do.

A virtuous (or excellent state of character) will allow a person to act in anexcellent fashion

what is it act well
What is it act well?

One acts well when one avoids extremes, so that virtue is a kind of Mean.

“…fear and confidence and appetite and anger and pity and in general pleasure and pain may be felt both too much and too little, and both cases not well; but to feel them at the right times, with reference to the right objects, towards the right people, with the right motive, and in the right way is what is intermediate and best, and this is characteristic of virtue.”