1) Explain fully Aristotle? s approach to Ethics. What is the goal of the ethical life? What type of soul is capable of realizing the good life? How do we go about accomplishing this goal? What are the possible lifestyle choices we may lead? Are any of these conducive to leading the good life? The goal of the ethical life, according to Aristotle, is good. All human activity is directed toward this good, the highest of which is Eudaimonia. There are two kinds of good, intrinsic and instrumental. Intrinsic goods are those which are good in and of themselves. The only thing that is completely intrinsic is happiness, or Eudaimonia.
Instrumental goods are those which are good only because they are used for some other thing or purpose. Money is the most obvious instrumental good, as it is used to obtain other goods. Any individual with a virtuous soul is capable of realizing the good life. One must live with moral and intellectual virtues, excellences, and high standards to accomplish this goal. There are three lifestyles one may lead: the vulgar, the political, or the contemplative.
The vulgar lifestyle is based on instant gratification. Goods are simply pleasures one enjoys immediately and temporarily. This lifestyle is guaranteed to fail in the quest for Eudaimonia. The political lifestyle in one in which happiness is determined by honor achieved. There are two types of honors one can obtain in the political life, the real and the bogus.
Bogus honors are simply to gain status in society and could be bought, but real honors are awards for doing good and helping others. While politics itself is the study of the good, one could easily disgrace oneself and become ostracized from the community. The contemplative lifestyle is one based upon speculation and reflection into one? s own life. This lifestyle is ethical and is the best way to guide one towards the good life and true happiness.