An argument on aristotles thoughts on contemplating the cosmos

aristotle ethics pdf

We can also compare these goods with other things that are desirable in themselves—pleasure, friendship, honor, and so on—and ask whether any of them is more desirable than the others.

If one lived in a community filled with good people, and cooperated on an occasional basis with each of them, in a spirit of good will and admiration, would that not provide sufficient scope for virtuous activity and a well-lived life? Why such a restricted audience?

Aristotle function argument

The good of a human being must have something to do with being human; and what sets humanity off from other species, giving us the potential to live a better life, is our capacity to guide ourselves by using reason. One could say that he deliberates, if deliberation were something that post-dated rather than preceded action; but the thought process he goes through after he acts comes too late to save him from error. These points spell out claims that Aristotle already makes in Topics I. Indianapolis: Hackett. He argues that in the beginning, if the cosmos had come to be, its first motion would lack an antecedent state, and as Parmenides said, " nothing comes from nothing ". To be sure, these are activities in which contemplative activity can arise; as one commentator notes, they provide the dramatic backdrops for various Platonic dialogues. So, although Aristotle holds that ethics cannot be reduced to a system of rules, however complex, he insists that some rules are inviolable. Drawing well and the pleasure of drawing well always occur together, and so they are easy to confuse, but Aristotle's analysis in Book X emphasizes the importance of making this distinction. If theoretical contemplation constitutes our complete happiness insofar as it is godlike, and if theoretical contemplation is godlike in part insofar as it approximates the self-contemplative activity that god enjoys, then self-awareness would seem to be constitutive of complete happiness. Yet in contemplating god, the contemplator would be in a position to recognize his relative weakness and limitation as compared with god.

A standard or measure is something that settles disputes; and because good people are so skilled at discovering the mean in difficult cases, their advice must be sought and heeded.

Yet if the Pro- trepticus must rely on such a range of arguments to reach its full audience, then we should expect to find some internal tensions in the work.

Even so, that point does not by itself allow us to infer that such qualities as temperance, justice, courage, as they are normally understood, are virtues. Human happiness does not consist in every kind of pleasure, but it does consist in one kind of pleasure—the pleasure felt by a human being who engages in theoretical activity and thereby imitates the pleasurable thinking of god.

To show that this is how Aristotle accounts for the utility of con- templation, I turn to a remarkable section of the Protrepticus 8. On the threptikon as a craftworker, see Mennff. Surely someone who never felt this emotion to any degree could still live a perfectly happy life.

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Contemplation and Self