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Moral Philosophy: A Smorgasbord of Moral Philosophers

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  1. Aristotle, the man with a Grecian plan.
  2. But how exactly does one flourish?
  3. There is a difficulty with living Aristotle's life of contemplation.
  4. The thought component of virtue revolves around what Aristotle describes as the Doctrine of the Mean.
  5. Epicureanism, less is more.
  6. The second major source of our restlessness is our fear of death.
  7. Utilitarianism is based on the notion that there are two masters of all human behavior.
  8. Comparison, a moral battle royal.
  9. Very few people live a life anywhere near aestheticism.

?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? [...]

[...] At the time Epicureanism was formed it would have worked as a moral framework much better, but it could have never predicted the industrial revolution, and the consumerism that followed it. Utilitarianism fits the best. Maybe because it is the most recent of the theories but that doesn't discredit how well it fits with the general population. As Mill points out it can be constantly pursued. That may be in part because utilitarianism almost mimics behavioral psychology in the way it explains the causes of human behavior and then builds a philosophical framework around it but again that is not to discredit the practicality of this theory. [...]

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