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Free «Happiness according to aquinas and aristotle» Essay Sample

Aquinas and Aristotle were on the belief that the prominent of all material goods attainable by action, for all men, from the average to the aristocrat, was happiness .In addition, Aristotle added that happiness was the final good, or the end of action .He believed that, by nature, ultimate happiness is realized by exercising intelligence in accordance with virtue. He said that, in living virtuously, one should act morally as per a mean which lies between two vices, as the two vices (the extremes) fall short of what right Aristotle always maintained that, in addition to reason, men should pursue reality through philosophy and thinking, using logic and the careful observation of the world.

Supernatural happiness is obtained only by revelation from God. Anyhow, Aquinas maintained that happiness comes from the thought process which brings one to reach God and His nature. Although lot of people believed that philosophy and theology should be kept independent of each other, Aquinas' perspective was different (Mortimer, 1996). Although it is a reality that faith cannot be explained logically we can take advantage by using our intelligence to comprehend more about both God and reasoning. He believed that our very human nature makes it very tedious to realize this state, and that it was too optimistic to believe that it was feasible for more than a few .

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He believed that the two constituents, intelligence and revelation from God were complementary devices to be utilized in increasing our personal and spiritual growth, and in maintaining our search for happiness. Aquinas also believed that it is not easy to realize both natural and supernatural power in this earthly period. Aquinas agreed with Aristotle that we should use our logic and our intelligence, not only to procure knowledge, but also to get an understanding of theology and information about the character of almighty God. He viewed things from a complete philosophical perspective (Cambridge U. Press, 1993.). Since we cannot consistently sustain the intellectual ability essential to derive moral virtues and also be a super saint, in Aquinas' perspective, is whatever it would take to obtain supernatural happiness, many persons will never get it. We can get original happiness in our own control, through our human faculties. Every action possess a final cause, the good at which it focuses, and Aristotle says that since there cannot be an limitless regress of just extrinsic things, there should be a superior good at which all human actions finally aims (Mortimer, 1996).

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This extremity of human life could be termed happiness (or dwelling well), of course, but what is it truly? Neither the ordinary notions of pleasure, wealth, and honor nor the philosophical theory of forms provide an adequate account of this ultimate goal, since even individuals who acquire the material goods or achieve intellectual knowledge may not be happy.

As per Aristotle, things of any type have a particular function that they are actually used to perform. The good for every individual, then, must ideally consist of the whole proper function of human life as a whole, and this must be a task of the soul that displays genuine virtue or superiority (Cambridge U. Press, 1993). Thus, every individual should focus on a life in complete accordance with their intellectual natures; for this, the satisfaction of needs and the possession of material goods are less significant than the realization of virtue. A happy individual will show a personality appropriately balanced between reasons and desires, with moderation characterizing all. In this sense, at least, "virtue is its own reward." True happiness can therefore be attained only through the cultivation of the virtues that make a human life complete.

Like Aristotle, Aquinas claims that there is a final end to man's life and that ultimate end is termed happiness(. Like Aristotle, he claims that we must look at what happiness consists of. He triggers a variety of views, giving weight age to valid sources. Similar to Aristotle, he claims that happiness cannot be sought in money, honor, fame, authority etc. Aristotle finally concludes that happiness is embedded in a life noted by excellent (virtuous) exercise of our superior powers--those powers which are distinctively humane. Aquinas also argues for a very similar type of conclusion (Mortimer, 1996). These distinctively human powers are reason and will; these powers are exercised ideally in the beatific perspective of God almighty.

Happiness in our contemporary perspective is whatever you want to be associated with it. If someone say that they are happy when they have lots of money, take the case of a wealthy cancer patient, who definitely has large amount of money, but is he content with it? Definitely what will make him happy is to be free from his disease. So happiness is an arbitrary state of mind. Something that make one person happy may not make another person happy.

Happiness is actually a form of feeling most accurately defined by the subject of the feeling.

Happiness in this view is subjective and can be of a short period. If wealth is pursued for the sake of comfort, then comfort is of course a better thing than wealth. By buying goods in this manner, we form a type of pyramid of goods, with those goods that we follow for their own sakes near the top, and those goods that are only useful for the realization of other goods near the bottom. Thus, while all goals we follow is good in itself, at times it can be followed in a way that compromises the realization of better goods—making the overall journey bad. There is just a single good that Aristotle thinks is followed wholly by it, and not for the sake of any other reasons .That good, as per Aristotle, is eudemonia—commonly translated as “happiness” (even though “flourishing” may be a better translation). In order to comprehend what type of pursuit is really good for human beings, we need to comprehend the nature of man’s happiness.

Today’s world is so much absorbed in a web of self-centeredness which finds happiness only in the material things that this world can provide. Instead finding the divine happiness resting in our souls as Aquinas or Aristotle points out can make huge differences in our lives and life of those people around us.


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