A Discussion Of Whether Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Is A Valid Ethical System

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Nicomachean Ethics is a philosophical thinking that was based on the nature of the good life for a human being. Aristotle started in his works that there are some existing fundamental principle in which human action aimed to achieved towards good. This good in which human action tends to get is happiness, and in Greek it is called eudaimonia which means “actively exercising your soul’s power.” In order to be happy, human being must be virtuous in all ways. According to Aristotle, virtues is classified into two kinds which are intellectual virtues and moral virtues, and also identified nine intellectual virtues of which Sophia (theoretical wisdom) and phronesis (practical wisdom) are important. However, we are taught intellectual virtues, while we are made to learn moral virtues by doing it through constant practice. Moreover, to understand the nature of human happiness it is important to know what are the functions of human being for happiness to be achieved, these functions must be fulfilled. The things human being can perform is intellectual; it is activity of the part of the soul based on thinking. Human happiness consists in this activity of the soul according to reason which can be expressed through ethical virtue. Ethical virtue is a moral character of a person which is directed to be a choice and basic reasoning in action. Moreover, for an action to be consider virtuous it must be done intentionally. Prudence is very important for ethical virtue because it involves intellectual virtue which enable a person to know the important of every situation.

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The moral virtues are not the same but comprises of temperate, just, courageous, compassionate, generous, friendly, and truthful. For every voluntary action one has the power to do leads to braveness because voluntary actions can be virtuous. While an action is involuntary when it is done under threat thereby causes pain to the person involved. Aristotle gave three ways to differentiate virtuous people from people who act in the right way by accident: First, Virtuous people are conscious of their behavior, secondly, they tend to behave in a proper way for the sake of being virtuous. Thirdly, their behavior shows itself as part of a fixed, virtuous disposition. “so, virtue is a purposive disposition, lying in a mean that is relative to us and determined by a rational principle, by that which a prudent man would use to determine it.” Therefore, virtue is a quality that a person possessed and not a feeling, and feelings are not based on praise. Feelings tends to make us act in a certain way, but virtues make us act in the right way.

A brave man is fearless in his action and does things for righteous sake despite being face with death. He carries out his duties in a right manner and also conscious of his actions for the sake of virtue. For instant, the virtue of braveness involved cowardice and rashness. Cowardice is the ability to act fearfully for the best reason in any given situation, while rashness is closer to courage. However, temperance involves bodily pleasures. A man that is temperate is thrown away in regards to pleasures and pains. While the intemperate man seeks exciting things because they are pleasurable and feel bad when he is unable to get what he desires. Aristotle, defines courage has the right behavior toward fear. Courage does not mean fearlessness, but include confidence in the verge of death. Certain qualities look like courage but are not in fact courageous it is a hard and good virtue, because it involves bearing pain. However, courage stands in between the disposition to show certain amount of fear that is right to the situation.

Aristotle believed that in order to be happy, humans needs to have some social life. In his understanding, pleasure comes first which includes having fun, good friends, sex and eating some delicious food. The reason behind human acting virtuously is to be more like ourselves. Aristotle named the foundation of virtues our “characteristics,” and making the virtues inherent in us, we are showing our right nature as human beings. In Aristotle’s theories, the most important things that make us human is rational perception. The ability for us to think our being and know that it is a good pleasure designed only for us.

In my own opinion, I think Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics is a valid system because it revolved around human nature. Happiness is what humans strived to achieved in this world, and in order to attain happiness, there are some qualities we have to possess in us which are virtues and moral. His observations of how human interact and behaved has made us to think about the world we are living in today. In regards to Ethics, humans can actually be happy if only we can act in a proper and right way towards one another. For us as humans, we have to depend on each other because no one has it all. We all need one another to make the world a better place. Our choice and pleasure in life matters a lot. When we chose to do the right thing, it gives us pleasure and bring support from people around us. According to Aristotle “The person who finds the right balance between the ends of their behavior will be a good and perfect person.” Becoming a good person involves partaking in an act of goodness toward other people. This will make us to be good men and gives rise to the knowledge of ethics.

16 December 2021

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