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Aristotle on

Nicomachean Ethics
Presentation By
Roberto Javier Vidal
Aristotles Thesis
The good has rightly been declared to be that of
which all things aim, (Fricker & Guttenplan, 9).
Aristotles thesis is that all things ultimately aim to
obtain or acquire goodness.
Aristotle offers this theory as a hypothesis that he
judiciously assesses throughout his first book in
different parts.
Aristotles Syllogism
If everything aims to seek the highest good, and if
everything aims to seek happiness, then, the highest
good is happiness.
If everything aims to function through the highest
good and if everything aims to function through
practicing virtue, then, practicing virtue is the highest
Therefore, if the highest good is happiness and
practicing virtue is the highest good, then practicing
virtue is happiness.
Aristotles Strongest Argument
Aristotles strongest argument states that we could first
ascertain the function of man (Fricker & Guttenplan, 12)
before we can determine mans happiness.
It is through the continuous practice of virtue that we are able
to claim our happiness.
As stated in the commentary, virtue is Aristotles way to fill in
what he had so far left blank, namely, a specific understanding
of the good for humankind, (Fricker & Guttenplan, 17).
It is through said understanding that we are able to derive
from his premises that finding ones good is obtained through
finding ones virtue, and subsequently, finding ones virtue
equates to ones ultimate happiness.
Objection to Aristotles Argument
Happiness cannot be the sole aim in life for an individual
who is seeking to find their essential aim.
Happiness is a very distinctive, characteristic, personal
concept that can only truly be depicted by the individuals
understanding of the antithesis of that which is
associated with happiness.
For example, we as beings do not measure how cold an
object is but rather the lack of heat thereof within the
We as beings cannot formulate a thought development in
which we can be certain on how to achieve and realize the
notion of happiness, we simply can only measure the lack
of despondency within our existence.
Syllogism for Objection
If the highest good is happiness and it cannot
be ascertained, and practicing virtue is the
highest good, then practicing virtue cannot
equate to our happiness for it cannot be
Aristotle's Retort to Objection
Happiness can only be seen as an existential
phenomenon that is used to describe the fulfillment of a
beings complete earthly journey.
Aristotle would refute that while happiness in a beings
instance cannot be used as a source of measurement for
the chief good, it most certainly can be used as the overall
marker for the successful aim and accomplishment of
ones true goodness.
This response to my objection is foreshadowed in
Aristotles statement that:
We must add in a complete life. For one swallow does not
make a summer, nor does one day; and so too many one
day, or a short time, does not make a man blessed and
happy, (Fricker & Guttenplan, 13).
Aristotle presents a sound thesis backed with
substantiated arguments, that even when poked at with
counter-premises and objections can be further explained
and developed to still remain true to its original intent and
Aristotles premises rest on the notion that its readers
understand the universality of understanding that lies
within the text.
Therefore, even when we begin to contest a conception
that seems to be estranged to our perception of cognitive
understanding, we must acknowledge that we are only
tapping at the surface of the issue, for the philosopher
has created the foundation for his impartment to respite
The End
Thank you for reading this
I look forward to your commentary!