Humanities Definition Essay On Happiness

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924 Words4 Pages

According to Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, happiness is the ultimate end of humanity, as everything humans do is done in order to obtain it, and it is gained via the achievement of full excellence of the soul. Happiness is the greatest of all human good, because, as an end, it is an end unto itself, meaning that humans do not use it as a means to any other end. It is not conditional happiness that Aristotle lauds, but rather something that is more akin to the modern definition of joy. The practice of virtue, both intellectual and moral, is required to condition the soul into the state of ultimate excellence, and thus to obtain happiness. This is because the excellent soul is governed completely by its rational segment, as opposed to…show more content…

Happiness, because it is not only “an end in itself,” but also the end at which all human actions are ultimately aimed, is the highest human good, and therefore the ultimate function of man (Ostwald 15). However, Happiness as portrayed by Aristotle is quite different from the modern understanding of happiness.
As understood by Aristotle, happiness is not the temporal feeling of pleasure brought on by agreeable conditions. Happiness, as the greatest human good, is the fulfillment of all that humans are meant to be. It is the end result of the cultivation of human excellence. Happiness does not depend on good conditions, nor is it temporal, but it is a state of being and character achieved over the course of a complete life for, as Aristotle says, “One swallow does not make a spring” (Ostwald 17). Furthermore, because Happiness is the greatest of human goods, and is the ultimate purpose of man, it is clear that any human may achieve happiness, so long as they cultivate it correctly and with discipline. With any function or good, one must practice certain skills in order to achieve excellence in that good, and to achieve the greatest good, happiness, one must cultivate virtue. Those that are musically inclined become master musicians by practicing either the playing of their instruments if they are performers, or by studying music theory if they are composers. The function of a

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