Human Nature

ESSAY CATEGORY: Philosophy

Human nature
Grade:
B
Language:
English
System:
Country:
Taiwan
Authors Comments:
Teachers Comments:

11/6/96
Our life is full of problems. Reasoning is a usual way to response to problems which we
concern about. We reason in response to everyday problems. For instance, asked by
friends to go out dinner at a time when we have planned something else, we must decide
which one is more important for us at that moment of time, and whether to decline or to
adjust our schedule. Reasoning appropriate to problems like this has often been called
practical. Practical reasons might be said to be reasons for acting, and it is in some sense
point toward action. Practical reasoning has been much discussed by philosophers, and it
is catalogued under Moral Philosophy. For Aristotles moral philosophy, as it appears in his
document now called the Nicomachean ethics, reflects his teleological (goal-oriented)
metaphyics. In the Nicomachean ethics, where Aristotle considers a science of doing, and
acting in certain way to seek rational ends. The notion of Goal, or Purpose, is the principal
one in his moral theory.
Aristotle noted that every act is performed for some purpose, which he defined as the
“good” of that act, the end at which the activity aims. We perform an act because we find
its purpose to be worthwhile. Either the totality of our acts is an infinitely circular series:
Every morning we get up in order to eat breakfast, we eat breakfast in order to go to
work, we got to work in order to get money, we get money so we can buy food in order to
be able to eat breakfast, etc., etc., etc., in which case life would be a pretty meaningless
endeavor because this is just bunch of repeated and vain activities practicing if without a
purpose. Or there is some ultimate good toward which the purpose of all acts are
directed. If there is such a good, we should try to come to know it so that we can adjust
all our acts toward it in order to avoid that saddest of all tragedies the wasted and vain
life
According to Aristotle, there is general verbal agreement that the end toward which all
human acts are directed is happiness; therefore, happiness is the human good since we
seek happiness for its own sake, not for the sake of something else. In a sense, realizing
the end of attaining happiness is an activity of making, and its the activity aims to make a
certain kind of man, living in a certain kind of society. Happiness might be explained as the
fruition of a mans way of life, in the truly human aspect of that way of life. The good of
each thing is its own function; thus, vision is the good of the eye and walking is the good
of the foot. As Aristotle said in the Nicomachean ethics, “Every art and every inquiry, and
similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the
good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” (11) However, unless
we philosophize about happiness and get to know exactly what it is and how to achieve it,
it will be stereotyped simply to say that happiness is the ultimate good. To determine the
nature of happiness, Aristotle turned to his metaphysical schema and asked, “What is the
function of the human?” In the same way he would ask about the function of a knife or a
cloth. He came to the conclusion that a humans function is to engage in “an activity of the
soul which is in accordance with virtue and which follows a rational principle.” Before
grasping this complicated definition , we must determine what virtues is and what kinds of
virtues there are. But first, we must have a basic understanding that Aristotle believed that
certain material conditions must hold before happiness can be achieved.
This list of conditions will show Aristotles elitism: We need good friends, riches, and
political power. We need a good birth, good children, and good looks. For the man who is
very ugly in appearance is not likely to be happy. Also we must not be very short.

Furthermore, we must be free from the need of performing manual labor. According to
Aristotle, no man can practice virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or laborer.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

Personally, I am strongly disagree on these conditions which Aristotle had claimed as the
criteria toward Happiness. There should not have a set of conditions or definitions on
Happiness because different people have different ways of understand happiness, and
different people have different beliefs and goals toward their own life. It should be noted
that Aristotles moral theory would be left substantially perfect if his elitist bias were
deleted.
Now, as to virtues, there are two kinds: Intellectual and moral, corresponding to the two
parts of the soul. Intellectual virtues are acquired through a combination of inheritance and
education, and moral virtues through imitation, practice, and habit. The habits that we
develop result in “states of character,” that is , in dispositions to act certain ways, and
these states of character are “virtuous” for Aristotle if they result in acts that are in
accordance with a “golden mean” of moderation. Courage is a mean between cowardice
and foolhardiness. For example, when it comes to facing danger, one can act with excess,
that is, show too much fear. (This is cowardice.) Or one can act deficiently by showing too
little fear. (This is foolhardiness.) Or one can act with moderation, and hence virtuously,
by showing the right amount of fear. (This is courage.) Aristotle realized that the choices
we must make if we are to learn moral virtue cannot be made mathematically; rather,
they are always context-bound and must be approached through trial and error.
Returning to the intellectual virtues of practical and philosophical wisdom, the former is the
wisdom necessary to make judgments consistent with ones understanding of the good
life. It is therefore related to moral virtue. Philosophical wisdom is scientific, disinterested,
and contemplative. It is associated with pure reason, and, for Aristotle, the capacity for
reason is that which is most human; therefore, philosophical wisdom is the highest virtue.

So, when Aristotle defined happiness as “an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue,”
the activity referred to is philosophical activity. The human being can only be happy by
leading a contemplative life, but not a monastic one. We are not only philosophical animals
but also social ones. We are engaged in a would where decisions concerning practical
matters are forced upon us constantly. Happiness (hence the good life) requires excellence
in both spheres. Therefore, in the Aristotelian view, that the highest virtue is for the few.

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that the function of man is an activity of soul
which follows a rational principle which based on both virtues.
Human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are
more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. But we must add
“in a complete life.” For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does on day; and so
too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.
One who is trying to live according to a rational principle as what Aristotle suggested,
aiming for happiness, will surely find that such a life is very difficult, that the swallows do
not long remain, that the happy days do not last. What we try to do, in living out our days
of contested moral positions, is to seek happiness. But usually what we find is very little
happiness and very much despair, especially in the long run, “in a complete life.”
Aristotles end A happy man in a complete life seems unrealistic.
As mentioned before, different people might hold different belief toward happiness.
Belief is that upon which a man is prepared to act. Beliefs, then, are rules of action, and
they got their meaning from the action for which they are rules. Beliefs produced habits,
and that the way to distinguish between beliefs was to compare the habits they produced.

A persons belief could be established by observing that persons actions If certain people
believed that God existed, they would conceive of the world very differently from the way
they would conceive of it if they believed God did not exist. Also, their definition toward
happiness would also be very different from those who do not believe in God. However,
there are other people whose conceptions of the world would be practically identical
whether they believed that God did or did not exist. For certain other people who find
themselves somewhere between these two extremes, the proposition “God exists” means
something like this: “On Sunday, I put on nice clothes and go to church.” This is because,
for them, engaging in this activity is the only practical outcome of their belief. For those
who are Christian, richness might not have so much meaning to them. It is because their
definition on happiness is not depend on how rich you are, and this is exactly why I
opposed Aristotles elitism.
Clearly, practical reasoning which Aristotle founded it provides a way to understand and
explain actions. There are two important points with this founding. First, the method is
reasoning in the context of a desired end, at least typically in a way that includes a
commitment to some principle or belief. This provides motivation for the action issuing
from the reasoning. Second, this provides guidance for the action. It is exercised in part by
a belief to the effect that the end can be achieved by a certain kind of action, for instance,
in order for reaching a sweet, one might go buy some candy. The belief helps to sustain
and guide the action.
In conclude, Happiness is not a further end of the action, but its essential end. To act for a
reason is to act in order to achieve an end, whether ultimate or, more often, subsidiary, as
when we prescribe medicine in order to cure. Actions performed for a reason very
commonly issue from practical reasoning; and if Aristotle does not think they always do,
he at least holds that they are motivationally attached by a purposive chain which
terminates in a desire for happiness and can be associated, link by link, with practical
arguments that concern the relevant want, belief, and action, or at least of all action
performed for a reason, is behavioral foundationalism.
Our life is full of problems. Reasoning is a usual way to response to problems which we
concern about. We reason in response to everyday problems. For instance, asked by
friends to go out dinner at a time when we have planned something else, we must decide
which one is more important for us at that moment of time, and whether to decline or to
adjust our schedule. Reasoning appropriate to problems like this has often been called
practical. Practical reasons might be said to be reasons for acting, and it is in some sense
point toward action. Practical reasoning has been much discussed by philosophers, and it
is catalogued under Moral Philosophy. For Aristotles moral philosophy, as it appears in his
document now called the Nicomachean ethics, reflects his teleological (goal-oriented)
metaphyics. In the Nicomachean ethics, where Aristotle considers a science of doing, and
acting in certain way to seek rational ends. The notion of Goal, or Purpose, is the principal
one in his moral theory.
Aristotle noted that every act is performed for some purpose, which he defined as the
“good” of that act, the end at which the activity aims. We perform an act because we find
its purpose to be worthwhile. Either the totality of our acts is an infinitely circular series:
Every morning we get up in order to eat breakfast, we eat breakfast in order to go to
work, we got to work in order to get money, we get money so we can buy food in order to
be able to eat breakfast, etc., etc., etc., in which case life would be a pretty meaningless
endeavor because this is just bunch of repeated and vain activities practicing if without a
purpose. Or there is some ultimate good toward which the purpose of all acts are
directed. If there is such a good, we should try to come to know it so that we can adjust
all our acts toward it in order to avoid that saddest of all tragedies the wasted and vain
life
According to Aristotle, there is general verbal agreement that the end toward which all
human acts are directed is happiness; therefore, happiness is the human good since we
seek happiness for its own sake, not for the sake of something else. In a sense, realizing
the end of attaining happiness is an activity of making, and its the activity aims to make a
certain kind of man, living in a certain kind of society. Happiness might be explained as the
fruition of a mans way of life, in the truly human aspect of that way of life. The good of
each thing is its own function; thus, vision is the good of the eye and walking is the good
of the foot. As Aristotle said in the Nicomachean ethics, “Every art and every inquiry, and
similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the
good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” (11) However, unless
we philosophize about happiness and get to know exactly what it is and how to achieve it,
it will be stereotyped simply to say that happiness is the ultimate good. To determine the
nature of happiness, Aristotle turned to his metaphysical schema and asked, “What is the
function of the human?” In the same way he would ask about the function of a knife or a
cloth. He came to the conclusion that a humans function is to engage in “an activity of the
soul which is in accordance with virtue and which follows a rational principle.” Before
grasping this complicated definition , we must determine what virtues is and what kinds of
virtues there are. But first, we must have a basic understanding that Aristotle believed that
certain material conditions must hold before happiness can be achieved.
This list of conditions will show Aristotles elitism: We need good friends, riches, and
political power. We need a good birth, good children, and good looks. For the man who is
very ugly in appearance is not likely to be happy. Also we must not be very short.

Furthermore, we must be free from the need of performing manual labor. According to
Aristotle, no man can practice virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or laborer.

Personally, I am strongly disagree on these conditions which Aristotle had claimed as the
criteria toward Happiness. There should not have a set of conditions or definitions on
Happiness because different people have different ways of understand happiness, and
different people have different beliefs and goals toward their own life. It should be noted
that Aristotles moral theory would be left substantially perfect if his elitist bias were
deleted.
Now, as to virtues, there are two kinds: Intellectual and moral, corresponding to the two
parts of the soul. Intellectual virtues are acquired through a combination of inheritance and
education, and moral virtues through imitation, practice, and habit. The habits that we
develop result in “states of character,” that is , in dispositions to act certain ways, and
these states of character are “virtuous” for Aristotle if they result in acts that are in
accordance with a “golden mean” of moderation. Courage is a mean between cowardice
and foolhardiness. For example, when it comes to facing danger, one can act with excess,
that is, show too much fear. (This is cowardice.) Or one can act deficiently by showing too
little fear. (This is foolhardiness.) Or one can act with moderation, and hence virtuously,
by showing the right amount of fear. (This is courage.) Aristotle realized that the choices
we must make if we are to learn moral virtue cannot be made mathematically; rather,
they are always context-bound and must be approached through trial and error.
Returning to the intellectual virtues of practical and philosophical wisdom, the former is the
wisdom necessary to make judgments consistent with ones understanding of the good
life. It is therefore related to moral virtue. Philosophical wisdom is scientific, disinterested,
and contemplative. It is associated with pure reason, and, for Aristotle, the capacity for
reason is that which is most human; therefore, philosophical wisdom is the highest virtue.

So, when Aristotle defined happiness as “an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue,”
the activity referred to is philosophical activity. The human being can only be happy by
leading a contemplative life, but not a monastic one. We are not only philosophical animals
but also social ones. We are engaged in a would where decisions concerning practical
matters are forced upon us constantly. Happiness (hence the good life) requires excellence
in both spheres. Therefore, in the Aristotelian view, that the highest virtue is for the few.

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that the function of man is an activity of soul
which follows a rational principle which based on both virtues.
Human good turns out to be activity of soul in accordance with virtue, and if there are
more than one virtue, in accordance with the best and most complete. But we must add
“in a complete life.” For one swallow does not make a summer, nor does on day; and so
too one day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and happy.
One who is trying to live according to a rational principle as what Aristotle suggested,
aiming for happiness, will surely find that such a life is very difficult, that the swallows do
not long remain, that the happy days do not last. What we try to do, in living out our days
of contested moral positions, is to seek happiness. But usually what we find is very little
happiness and very much despair, especially in the long run, “in a complete life.”
Aristotles end A happy man in a complete life seems unrealistic.
As mentioned before, different people might hold different belief toward happiness.
Belief is that upon which a man is prepared to act. Beliefs, then, are rules of action, and
they got their meaning from the action for which they are rules. Beliefs produced habits,
and that the way to distinguish between beliefs was to compare the habits they produced.

A persons belief could be established by observing that persons actions If certain people
believed that God existed, they would conceive of the world very differently from the way
they would conceive of it if they believed God did not exist. Also, their definition toward
happiness would also be very different from those who do not believe in God. However,
there are other people whose conceptions of the world would be practically identical
whether they believed that God did or did not exist. For certain other people who find
themselves somewhere between these two extremes, the proposition “God exists” means
something like this: “On Sunday, I put on nice clothes and go to church.” This is because,
for them, engaging in this activity is the only practical outcome of their belief. For those
who are Christian, richness might not have so much meaning to them. It is because their
definition on happiness is not depend on how rich you are, and this is exactly why I
opposed Aristotles elitism.
Clearly, practical reasoning which Aristotle founded it provides a way to understand and
explain actions. There are two important points with this founding. First, the method is
reasoning in the context of a desired end, at least typically in a way that includes a
commitment to some principle or belief. This provides motivation for the action issuing
from the reasoning. Second, this provides guidance for the action. It is exercised in part by
a belief to the effect that the end can be achieved by a certain kind of action, for instance,
in order for reaching a sweet, one might go buy some candy. The belief helps to sustain
and guide the action.
In conclude, Happiness is not a further end of the action, but its essential end. To act for a
reason is to act in order to achieve an end, whether ultimate or, more often, subsidiary, as
when we prescribe medicine in order to cure. Actions performed for a reason very
commonly issue from practical reasoning; and if Aristotle does not think they always do,
he at least holds that they are motivationally attached by a purposive chain which
terminates in a desire for happiness and can be associated, link by link, with practical
arguments that concern the relevant want, belief, and action, or at least of all action
performed for a reason, is behavioral foundationalism.
Our life is full of problems. Reasoning is a usual way to response to problems which we
concern about. We reason in response to everyday problems. For instance, asked by
friends to go out dinner at a time when we have planned something else, we must decide
which one is more important for us at that moment of time, and whether to decline or to
adjust our schedule. Reasoning appropriate to problems like this has often been called
practical. Practical reasons might be said to be reasons for acting, and it is in some sense
point toward action. Practical reasoning has been much discussed by philosophers, and it
is catalogued under Moral Philosophy. For Aristotles moral philosophy, as it appears in his
document now called the Nicomachean ethics, reflects his teleological (goal-oriented)
metaphyics. In the Nicomachean ethics, where Aristotle considers a science of doing, and
acting in certain way to seek rational ends. The notion of Goal, or Purpose, is the principal
one in his moral theory.
Aristotle noted that every act is performed for some purpose, which he defined as the
“good” of that act, the end at which the activity aims. We perform an act because we find
its purpose to be worthwhile. Either the totality of our acts is an infinitely circular series:
Every morning we get up in order to eat breakfast, we eat breakfast in order to go to
work, we got to work in order to get money, we get money so we can buy food in order to
be able to eat breakfast, etc., etc., etc., in which case life would be a pretty meaningless
endeavor because this is just bunch of repeated and vain activities practicing if without a
purpose. Or there is some ultimate good toward which the purpose of all acts are
directed. If there is such a good, we should try to come to know it so that we can adjust
all our acts toward it in order to avoid that saddest of all tragedies the wasted and vain
life
According to Aristotle, there is general verbal agreement that the end toward which all
human acts are directed is happiness; therefore, happiness is the human good since we
seek happiness for its own sake, not for the sake of something else. In a sense, realizing
the end of attaining happiness is an activity of making, and its the activity aims to make a
certain kind of man, living in a certain kind of society. Happiness might be explained as the
fruition of a mans way of life, in the truly human aspect of that way of life. The good of
each thing is its own function; thus, vision is the good of the eye and walking is the good
of the foot. As Aristotle said in the Nicomachean ethics, “Every art and every inquiry, and
similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the
good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” (11) However, unless
we philosophize about happiness and get to know exactly what it is and how to achieve it,
it will be stereotyped simply to say that happiness is the ultimate good. To determine the
nature of happiness, Aristotle turned to his metaphysical schema and asked, “What is the
function of the human?” In the same way he would ask about the function of a knife or a
cloth. He came to the conclusion that a humans function is to engage in “an activity of the
soul which is in accordance with virtue and which follows a rational principle.” Before
grasping this complicated definition , we must determine what virtues is and what kinds of
virtues there are. But first, we must have a basic understanding that Aristotle believed that
certain material conditions must hold before happiness can be achieved.
This list of conditions will show Aristotles elitism: We need good friends, riches, and
political power. We need a good birth, good children, and good looks. For the man who is
very ugly in appearance is not likely to be happy. Also we must not be very short.

Furthermore, we must be freWords
/ Pages : 9,071 / 24