assignment threegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Walsh Intro to Philosophy : One Thread
Aristotle is correct when he describes happiness as a final end. I agree that there is nothing to be attained once one reaches happiness. One pursues happiness in order to be happy, and not for any further purpose.
Aristotle mentions that we attain virtue by doing virtuous acts. I agree with this statement. Humans learn through repetition. I learn my play lines by repeating them over and over. I don't know them after one reading, just like I wouldn't become charitable by giving money to the poor only one time. Virtue and all other aspects of our character are products of what we've learned and practiced.
Aristotle is also correct when he writes that the goodness or happiness of one's life can only be determined at the cessation of the life cycle. His additive philosophy works; if one's goods out weigh one's bads, then one was a good person. However, the definition of good is difficult, but I'll get to that later when I start to disagree. Anyway, his equation can only be complete after death when man no longer has the opportunity to perform any good or bad acts.
Aristotle uses the word good without providing a universal definition. This fact weakens his position slightly. Defining a good act is as difficult as defining reality. Good is intangible, and the extent or meaningfulness of a good act varies from person to person.
My second disagreement deals with his comparison of seeking pleasure to the acts of animals. I believe humans are animals, thus we should seek pleasure. When we consider ourselves masters of animals and somehow above them, we become alienated from our environment. We must keep in contact with nature so we don't lose sight of the fact that we are food for worms.
This leads to my third disagreement. Aristotle writes that we must avoid present pleasures because this can diminish the overall quality and happiness of our lives. I feel that the opposite is true. We must seek present pleasures because the future will never arrive. If we consistently put off pleasure in hopes of achieving pure happiness later in life, we are making a huge mistake. The reason is simple. We don't know when our lives will end! We need to live each moment as if it were our last because it might be. Certainly we must use some judgement and be aware of our responsibilities to others, but in order to be happy, we must be somewhat selfish. Selfishness is not necessarily a bad thing. We must be aware of our self in order to see that we are happy. Overall, I disagree with Aristotle because he focuses on long periods of time that may not be accessible to all people because of every one's individual life span.
-- Anonymous, February 24, 2000