- Aristotle defines the supreme good As an activity of the rational soul in accordance with virtue. Virtue for the Greeks is equivalent to excellence. A man has virtue as a musician, for Instance, if he plays a musical instrument well, since playing the instrument is The distinctive activity of a musician. A virtuous person is someone who Performs the distinctive activity of being human well. Rationality is our Distinctive activity, that is, the activity that distinguishes us from plants And animals. All living things have a nutritive soul, which governs growth and Nutrition. Humans and animals are distinct from plants in having a sensitive Soul, which governs locomotion and instinct. Humans are distinct above all for Having also a rational soul, which governs thought. Since our rationality is Our distinctive activity, its exercise is the supreme good.
- Aristotle argues that happiness is The highest good and the end at which all our activities ultimately aim. All Our activities aim at some end, though most of these ends are means toward Other ends. For example, we go grocery shopping to buy food, but buying food is Itself a means toward the end of eating well and fulfilling. Eating well is Also not an end in itself but a means to other ends. Only happiness is an end In itself, so it is the ultimate end at which all our activities aim. As such, It is the supreme good
- Finally, the two types of virtuous persons
That arise from this account of virtues are two parts of the rational soul,
Theoretical and practical reason. Virtues associated with those functions are
Theoretical reason, such as virtues of understanding, knowledge, wisdom. And
Practical reason which include the virtues practical wisdom which is good
Deliberation. He states that a Socially virtuous person has the moral virtues
Plus the virtue of practical reason which is practical wisdom, whereas a theoretically
Virtuous person has the virtues of theoretical reason which are understanding,
Knowledge and wisdom. However, the problem with this is because the theoretical
Virtues aren’t connected to the moral virtues you could be a genius that isn’t
Flourishing or finding happiness.
- Augustine and his friends stole a Huge load of pears from a tree after trespassing a person’s property and Decided not to eat them but rather to throw them at pigs. They did this not Because they were hungry or any other motivation but rather because doing this Pleased them all more because it was forbidden.
- Therefore, the motivation of this prank Was not to eat the pears or use them. There was nothing desirable about the Pears (taste, beauty) and there was nothing they feared in this action. The Motivation was the theft itself. The motivating factor was evil or the badness Of the action that motivated the act. Augustine sees this as a turning away From God to become one’s own God.
- However Aristotle defends Augustine’s Actions with the classical account of motivation. He states that every action That we commit ourselves is because we think it’s good and will lead to our Happiness. Augustine says we are mistaken in that because if we knew it was a Bad thing we wouldn’t do it. In reference to the robbing the bank example, a Person wouldn’t rob a bank if he knew in that moment it was a bad thing. They Think for some reason their action is good. Augustine disagrees with the Classical account of motivation because the pear theft is an example of us Knowing our action is bad but we still do it and desire doing it.
- In my opinion I agree more with Augustine’s
Viewpoint on this situation, initially we do want to act based on whatever will
Bring us pleasure however we always consider the consequences of our actions.
Therefore, even if we might get initial pleasure from an action that may be
Breaking the law for example, we would generally decide to avoid that action as
We know that in the long run it was probably bring us more pain than pleasure
And therefore isn’t worth it.