Aristotle maintains that the highest good is ‘happiness’ (‘eudaimonia’ in Greek). Please write an essay about Aristotle’s concept of eduaimonia that answers the following questions: Please ensure that your essay addresses each component of the assigned questions and that your answer is well-organized, uses excellent, college-level prose, and makes judicious use of textual evidence. Your essay should be 600-900 words long. Purchase the answer to view it Purchase the answer to view it
Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia as the highest good has been a subject of much scholarly debate and interpretation. In this essay, I will explore Aristotle’s understanding of eudaimonia and its significance, addressing the following questions: What does eudaimonia mean? Why does Aristotle consider it the highest good? And how does one achieve eudaimonia?
Eudaimonia is often translated as ‘happiness’, but this translation does not fully capture its rich meaning in Aristotle’s philosophy. According to Aristotle, eudaimonia is a state of fulfillment and flourishing that encompasses not only subjective happiness, but also objective wellbeing and the realization of one’s full potential. To achieve eudaimonia is to live a life of excellence and virtue, guided by reason and in harmony with one’s nature.
Aristotle argues that eudaimonia is the highest good because it is an end in itself, and everything else we desire is pursued for the sake of attaining eudaimonia. Other goods, such as wealth, power, or pleasure, are instrumental goods that are sought for the sake of something else. They are means to an end, but eudaimonia is the ultimate end that gives purpose and meaning to our actions.
Furthermore, Aristotle asserts that eudaimonia is the highest good because it is an intrinsic good, valuable for its own sake and not for the sake of anything else. While other goods can be subjectively valued or desired, eudaimonia is universally valuable and desirable for all human beings. It is the ultimate yardstick by which we measure the goodness or success of a life.
Aristotle also proposes that eudaimonia is a complete and self-sufficient good. Unlike other goods that are dependent on external circumstances or fleeting pleasures, eudaimonia is a stable and enduring state of wellbeing. It is not contingent on luck or external factors, but rather on the virtues and habits we cultivate and the choices we make. Eudaimonia is a product of a well-lived life in accordance with reason and virtue, which leads to a flourishing and fulfilled existence.
To attain eudaimonia, Aristotle argues that we must cultivate virtues and develop good habits. Virtues are moral and intellectual qualities that enable us to lead a life of excellence and virtue. They include virtues such as courage, temperance, wisdom, and justice, among others. Virtue is not innate, but acquired through education, practice, and habituation. By engaging in virtuous actions repeatedly, we can become virtuous individuals who act in accordance with reason and towards the fulfillment of our potential.
Aristotle also emphasizes the importance of living in accordance with one’s nature. Each person has a unique nature or essence that determines their potential for excellence and flourishing. This nature, which includes both biological and psychological aspects, provides the framework within which one can achieve eudaimonia. For example, a bird achieves eudaimonia by flying and expressing its nature as a flying creature. Similarly, human beings achieve eudaimonia by using reason and living in accordance with their rational and social nature.
In addition to virtue and living in harmony with one’s nature, Aristotle highlights the significance of external goods in the pursuit of eudaimonia. These include health, wealth, and personal relationships, among others. While external goods are not the essence of eudaimonia, they can facilitate and enhance our ability to live a virtuous and fulfilled life. However, Aristotle cautions against excessive attachment to external goods, as they can become obstacles to eudaimonia if pursued for their own sake or at the expense of virtue.
In conclusion, Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia as the highest good encompasses fulfillment, flourishing, and the realization of one’s full potential. It is valued for its own sake, as it is an end in itself and the ultimate purpose of our actions. To achieve eudaimonia, we must cultivate virtues, live in accordance with our nature, and make wise choices. Eudaimonia is not a fleeting feeling of happiness, but a lasting state of wellbeing and excellence that can be attained through a life of reason, virtue, and self-actualization.