You are on page 1of 1

1. With regard to reading from Aristotle's Nicomachen Ethics, what do all things in nature p[ersue?

~What do we know about this regarding what human nature pursue? Describe to these first two
question determine the content of the master science of the Good for Aristotle's . How do we know
when a person processes what this science intends to foster?

Aristotle’s teleology of nature states that everything has a goal or an end, and every creature
or thing is designed to fulfill a particular purpose. For example, the organs of plants and animals
each have a specific function in the anatomical systems of the living thing which contributes to the
survival of the organism. For human beings, human activity is aimed at some good, with some goods
subordinate to others— for instance, “the end of medicine is health; that is shipbuilding, a ship; that
of military science, victory; and that of domestic economy, wealth.”1 Aristotle ventures to say that
the highest good for man is generally agreed to be “happiness” which is an end in itself; it is final and

There are, however, various views as to what happiness is (e.g. pleasure, wealth, or honor),
and in order to arrive at certain understanding of happiness, Aristotle had to determine “which
science or faculty is concerned with it.”2 In doing so, Aristotle claims that the science of politics is the
master science “because it lays down which of the sciences there should be in cities, and which class
of person should learn and up to what level”3, and that “even the most honourable of faculties such
as military science, domestic economy, and rhetoric, come under it.”4 Being a political animal, Man
cannot live in isolation, and all his activities involve the cooperation of others. The collapse of a
state, for instance, would mean the collapse of all other activities.

In order to reach that state of happiness, one must consider the characteristic function of
Man, or that distinctive activity which separates Man from plants and animals— rationality.
Therefore, happiness involves the activity of a rational soul in accordance with virtue. Virtue is the
mean which lies in between two vices. For example, courage is the virtue which lies in between
cowardice (shortage) and arrogance (excess). A person’s life, then, should be considered in its
totality, and not just in brief moments.

Crisp, R. (Trans.). (2000). Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.