Aristotle’s Ethics

Aristotle was a Greek scientist and Philosopher, known for his wisdom. His work has grown in importance over time, but it is thought that only one third of his work is still in existence. Don’t let your work die. Write it down for all to use.

Here are some of the remaining ethics which combine Aristotle’s thinking on political science, philosophy and physics.

1. The highest good and the end toward which all human activity is directed is happiness, which can be defined as continuous contemplation of eternal and universal truth.

2. One attains happiness by a virtuous life and the development of reason and the faculty of theoretical wisdom. For this one requires sufficient external goods to ensure health, leisure, and the opportunity for virtuous action.

3. Moral virtue is a relative mean between extremes of excess and deficiency, and in general the moral life is one of moderation in all things except virtue. No human appetite or desire is bad if it is controlled by reason according to a moral principle. Moral virtue is acquired by a combination of knowledge, habituation, and self-discipline.

4. Virtuous acts require conscious choice and moral purpose or motivation. Man has personal moral responsibility for his actions.

5. Moral virtue cannot be achieved abstractly—it requires moral action in a social environment. Ethics and politics are closely related, for politics is the science of creating a society in which men can live the good life and develop their full potential.

6. If there should exist an end which is desirable for its own sake, which determines and motivates all other actions and choices, this end would be that which is absolutely good. Knowledge of this good would be of great value, for it would provide an aim for life and a standard by which to evaluate all other activities and thoughts.

7. Politics, the most comprehensive of the practical sciences, is the field of knowledge to which the study of this good belongs. It is the aim of politics to create the best possible conditions in which citizens can lead good lives. This can only be achieved by a knowledge of the good. Thus, the end of politics is human good. The study of ethics, which shares this aim, is a branch of politics.

8. It is possible that the good of the community and the good of the individual are identical, but even so the good of the community is a greater and more perfect moral goal toward which to work. To achieve the good of the individual is worthwhile, but the good of the community, which is composed of many individuals, has a higher, more divine quality.

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