Friday, December 8, 2006
Aristotelian Ethics: A prominent philosopher of Ancient Greece, the works of Aristotle have had a profound impact on nearly all subjects of western philosophy. Concerning the philosophical entity of ethics, Aristotle produced a work entitled the Nicomachean Ethics. This work actually represents a series of lectures that Aristotle gave at his school in Athens called the Lyceum. Essentially, he claimed that the ultimate purpose of all human action is happiness. Happiness is complete, self-sufficient, and the end of all actions. Ethics for Aristotle therefore is founded upon habitual action. Since all human actions are done for the ultimate sake of happiness, he asserted that man must follow a strict routine in order to foster more perfect virtues. Virtues are active and mean conditions whereby man seeks to strike an appropriate balance between the vices of excessiveness and deficiency. An example that Aristotle employed in order to corroborate his conception of virtues is that of courage. He said that courage is precisely the mean condition regarding the vices of rashness (excess) and cowardice (deficiency).