Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Aristotle's Ethical Contradictions

When examining Aristotle's ethical philosophies regarding goodness and the virtues that must be practice to achieve goodness, I find myself in much agreement with his views. I can agree that goodness is achieved when you are content with your actions, which equates to happiness. However, what Aristotle doesn't consider within his philosophies is that not everyone has the same ambition to succeed in the same ways. For example, if a person favors excess shyness over the equilibrium of modesty because they like to keep to themselves, does that make their means of achieving happiness unvirtuous, and therefore their ability to achieve goodness impossible?

Aristotle made many good points about moderation when it comes to his virtues. It is important to try to maintain moderation, but if a person follows these virtues, achieves what they want, but still feels unhappy (because perhaps the virtues don't reflect their individual characteristics), does that mean they cannot be good? Or suppose a person has higher expectations of their life than another, and the two people are put in identical circumstances - they have achieved the same things, they have the same things, they are equally virtuous. Is it impossible for the man with higher expectations to be happy? Is it wrong for him to be unhappy simply because he is more ambitious than the other man? What is, in fact, Aristotle's idea of "proper ambition" when it comes to his virtuous equilibrium? Shouldn't more ambition always be a good thing? Or is it better to have less ambition because then happiness will be easier to achieve? Is it even possible to control these things?

I have endless questions about Aristotle's philosophies and to what extent they were literal. The one thing I am sure about, however, is that it makes a lot more sense to me and has a much more positive outlook than Plato's idea of goodness. Plato's seems, in a way, hopeless because he only believes in the "form of good" which is both an object and a cause of knowledge, indicating that goodness cannot be achieved without understanding, and obtaining happiness seems much more possible than obtaining understanding in order to achieve goodness.


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