For Aristotle, happiness is that activity of the soul which functions in accord with excellence.Aristotle says that living well and faring well is being happy. But happiness, or eudemonia, ismore than just a state of being for Aristotle. The mind discerns the virtues as lying between themean of two or more extreme possibilities. Some virtues are not means between two extremes.A flourishing life; a happy life; is one which consists of numerous requirements having beenfulfilled to some degree. Additionally, certain intellectual and moral needs ought to be met aswell.7.
According to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, you can see how our actions slowly sculpt ourcharacter. With each act, we become more virtuous or more vicious; more a follower of practical reason or more a follower of our appetites. So, habit is tremendously important,because it forms our moral character. Now, if we are to aim at the common good in politics, wewould have to have a good moral character where the rational element in us is in charge. If notwe would not know the best course, and even if we did, we wouldn't have the courage orstrength to pursue it, at least in hardship. This moral character leads back to correct actions inwhich we habituate ourselves.
8. The Stoics developed an ethical and social theory which accorded well with their generalphilosophy described above. Recognizing the prevalence of particular evil, they taught that menshould be tolerant and forgiving in their attitudes toward one another. They denied racialexclusiveness and held that all men are brothers under the fatherhood of one God. Unlike their contemporaries, the Cynics, they did not recommend that man should withdraw from society buturged participation in public affairs as a duty for the citizen of rational mind. If the atoms werecapable only of mechanical motion, then man, who is made up of atoms, would be reduced to thestatus of an automaton; and fatalism would be the law of the universe. The ethical philosophy of the Epicureans was based upon the doctrine that the highest good for man is pleasure. Thehighest of all pleasures, however, consists in serenity of soul, in the complete absence of bothmental and physical pain. Men obey these rules solely because it is to their advantage to do so.