Pleasure is not the highest good

The poet Lucretius is its most known Roman proponent. Doing anything well requires virtue or excellence, and therefore living well consists in activities caused by the rational soul in accordance with virtue or excellence.

He does not have before his mind a quantitative question; he is trying to decide whether the accused committed the crime, and is not looking for some quantity of action intermediate between extremes.

But what of the remaining three: So, pleasure is not the highest good -- it is not Pleasure is not the highest good same as happiness. Just as a big mouse can be a small animal, two big chapters can make a small book.

Sometimes only a small degree of anger is appropriate; but at other times, circumstances call for great anger. The parallel point in ethics is that to make progress in this sphere we must already have come to enjoy doing what is just, courageous, generous and the like.

There is another contrast with Plato that should be emphasized: A defense of Aristotle would have to say that the virtuous person does after all aim at a mean, if we allow for a broad enough notion of what sort of aiming is involved.

He compares it to the life of a god: Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.

He lauded the enjoyment of simple pleasures, by which he meant abstaining from bodily desires, such as sex and appetites, verging on asceticism. As this law imposes itself through reason, the system is rightly called rational Deontologism. One of his reasons for thinking that such a life is superior to the second-best kind of life—that of a political leader, someone who devotes himself to the exercise of practical rather than theoretical wisdom—is that it requires less external equipment a23—b7.

But surely many other problems that confront a virtuous agent are not susceptible to this quantitative analysis. He is vindicating his conception of happiness as virtuous activity by showing how satisfying are the relationships that a virtuous person can normally expect to have.

There is a simple thought experiment that shows how desire fulfillment works, and how it defeats other theories such as the theory that we seek only pleasure and happiness. Knowledge is the only virtue, ignorance the only vice.

Philosophy For Beginners

Even so, that point does not by itself allow us to infer that such qualities as temperance, justice, courage, as they are normally understood, are virtues.

Just as property is ill cared for when it is owned by all, and just as a child would be poorly nurtured were he to receive no special parental care—points Aristotle makes in Politics II. Finding the mean in any given situation is not a mechanical or thoughtless procedure, but requires a full and detailed acquaintance with the circumstances.

Such people are not virtuous, although they generally do what a virtuous person does. March 3, at 3: The highest form of happiness is contemplation. He insists that ethics is not a theoretical discipline: But egoism is sometimes understood in a stronger sense. This can be nothing else than the infinite truth and the infinite good, which is GodHence the system is not a purely deontologico-rational one, constituting the reason a law to itself, the observance of which law would be the highest good.

He who has a clear and certain understanding of these things will direct every preference and aversion toward securing health of body and tranquillity of mind, seeing that this is the sum and end of a blessed life. Does such good will exist in all three kinds of friendship, or is it confined to relationships based on virtue?

As pleasure is conditioned by organic states, it can be produced only by motion, which, to be pleasant, must needs be gentle; hence according to the Cyrenaics, it is not the mere absence of pain, but a transient emotion which makes man happy and constitutes his highest good.

But, most people asked report that they would not, and no reason can be provided to doubt them. The answer to this question may be that Aristotle does not intend Book VI to provide a full answer to that question, but rather to serve as a prolegomenon to an answer.

Aristotle's Ethics

Because each of the two papyrus rolls into which it is divided is unusually long. Poverty, isolation, and dishonor are normally impediments to the exercise of virtue and therefore to happiness, although there may be special circumstances in which they are not.

At least some are thought to have belonged to the Epicurean Philodemus. D Epicurus circa B. However, you will be made to believe that your child has been set free and allowed to live a safe and happy life.Mar 03,  · By saying thhat pleasure is what everyone desires it can be declared the highest good.

It is not like “Joe likes candy” where you have an inductive fallacy but a case where a universal principle is derived from everything. This highest good must also fit into three criteria: it is desirable for itself, it is not desirable for the sake of some other good, and all other goods are desirable for its sake.


Furthermore, Aristotle later includes that the highest good must be acted upon because if one does not act to achieve any aim then they will never achieve it. In this passage from the Letter to Menoeceus, Epicurus ( – B.C.), summarizes two of his most famous ethical doctrines: that death should not be feared and that pleasure is the highest good.

The Highest Good

However, pleasure for Epicurus is not the indulgence of fine foods, drinking beer, and sex. Pleasure and happiness. According to Aristotle, pleasure is not the aim of every human action, because not every pleasure is good. (Remember, the highest good is intrinsically good).

Pleasure is found in various forms of activity, and a proper pleasure or pain may belong to any activity. Man's highest happiness does not consist in pleasure, but in action, since, in the nature of things, action is not for pleasure, but pleasure for action.

This activity, on which man's happiness rests, must, on the one hand, be the noblest and highest of which his nature is capable, and, on the other, it must be directed toward the noblest and the highest object.

It seems clear that not all pleasures are desirable and that pleasure is not the supreme Good. Pleasure is not a process, since it is not a movement from incompleteness to completeness and does not necessarily take place over an extended period of time.

Pleasure is not the highest good
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