Aristotle, the man with a Grecian plan
Aristotle along with many of the other ancient Grecian philosophers are considered to have given birth to rational thought and its integration into philosophy, so it is no surprise that Aristotle's work on moral philosophy would focus on reason. Essentially, his moral theory emphasizes the excellent use of the rational soul over a long life. There is a lot more to it than just thinking rationally and living long though. He starts off by seeking to determine what the highest good is. Since the highest good should be the goal of a life he seeks to first find the highest good and then from there place that highest good at the base of his moral theory.
[...] The epicurean solution to these problems is a rather simple one because it emphasizes the pursuit of simple things. They have remedies for each of these sources of restlessness. Epicureans seek a temperate life not too unlike the mean life dictated Aristotle. Except Epicureanism is more of a closer cousin to asceticism than a truly moderate life. The rationale behind this borderline form of asceticism is that desiring something too lofty tends to lead to a tolerance building up to that pleasure, because one becomes accustomed to receiving it. [...]
[...] There is a difficulty with living Aristotle's life of contemplation, a problem that many ancient philosophers found as well. A person who seeks to live a life of contemplation does not wish to use his knowledge, as he only wants to further contemplate. This problem is best explained by Plato's story of the stargazer in his dialogue Republic”. If there are a group of people on a boat each fighting for control of the boat, who makes the best captain? [...]
[...] Mill's adjustment has in a sense saved the entire principle of utility and earned utilitarianism a place among the other moral frameworks. “Comparison, a moral battle royal” Obviously all these theories cannot exist harmoniously. There are plenty of blatant contradictions between them. However the subtle similarities between them cannot be overlooked. First and foremost Aristotle lays out a test for any moral theory and then subjects his theory to this test. He claims that philosophy should work with what the people generally believe in. [...]
[...] Good people will make the same choice in the same situation. However, the situation is rarely the same so we will often arrive at similar definitions of the mean in similar situations. Following the Doctrine of the Mean has another benefit. Part of flourishing is living a long life. What good is a moral life if you can't enjoy it for very long? Living a life in accordance with the mean will generally keep you around longer. Think about it eating, exercising, and any other activity that pertains to health. [...]
[...] Now we have established what exactly Aristotle believes to be the path to achieving the highest good and thus living a moral life. “Epicureanism, less is more” To an Epicurean happiness isn't a positive thing. It's a lack of negative things. Although it is a form of hedonism, it is not in the modern sense as Epicurus points out, doctrine is, though it commonly held to be hedonistic, slack and soft. For we do not just pursue the kind of pleasure which stimulates our nature itself with a kind of smoothness and is perceived by the sense with a sort of sweetness, but rather we hold that the greatest pleasure is that which is perceived when all pain is removed” (Inwood pg 50). [...]
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