Aristotle: Highest End To All Things Is Aristotle: Highest End To All Things Is Happiness Aristotle argues things people do aims at some end or end. The highest end to all of these things is attaining happiness. I maintain that it is impossible for a human being to be happy according to Aristotle's definition due to the fact that he sets strict conditions of perfect virtue thus happiness. Aristotle suggests that happiness is not a state, but rather we count happiness as an activity. He argues that happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with perfect virtue. This cannot be true, because if one, at anytime, acts outside of perfect virtue than he has undermined the whole "activity.
' Aristotle argues that happiness is not found in amusement for it is too incongruous to end in amusement, and that our efforts and sufferings would be aimed at amusing ourselves. I argue that happiness can be found in amusement. When one is amusing himself he is said to be happy. But this does not agree with Aristotle's theory of perfect virtue. Aristotle contests that the happy life seems to be in accord with virtue, which involves serious actions, not amusing ones. Thereby Aristotle is saying that things taken seriously provide happiness as opposed to funny things that provide amusement not happiness.
I maintain that one cannot act in continuous perfect virtue, consistently take things seriously, and engage in serious action. This would make for an impossible doing by a human being. For one cannot act in perfect virtue all the time. Does this mean he will never attain happiness?
Aristotle's definition of happiness is utilitarian. What Aristotle is arguing is theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness for the greatest number, the most virtuous. To become virtuous, one must do what virtuous people do. Virtuous people do what makes them become virtuous. I maintain that not for a complete life can one act in accord to virtue. I show that one can be in accord with perfect virtue at any given time, but not all the time because human beings live on greed.
One has the want for more. It is not that one is not coherent in this greed, because human beings know and can reason. Therefore, once any greed arises one is acting outside of perfect virtue thus never attaining happiness. I maintain this not to be true. For under no circumstance can a human being never once yearned for more no matter what his disposition is.
Happiness is conditioned. It is communal. Happiness is not a precise science. Aristotle argues that happiness requires both complete virtue and a complete life.
Aristotle says this because life entails reversals of fortunes and good and bad. Aristotle speaks of Priam in the Trojan stories in how he had a miserable end so you cannot count him as happy. I disagree in that one cannot say he was not happy up until that point. One cannot discount a man whole life due to one incidence. One cannot say that Priam was never happy during his lifetime. Again, Aristotle strict conditions of perfect virtue in attaining happiness devour one's chance of ever being happy according to Aristotle.
Further qualifying the impossibility as it relates to his definition. I have showed that it is impossible for someone to be happy according to Aristotle's definition due to his strict conditions of perfect virtue and thus happiness. One cannot act in accord to perfect virtue for a complete life. This should not deny a human beings claim of being happy in his lifetime. Yes, human beings are trying to attain some good or end, but not necessarily as Aristotle views it.