In Understanding is Happiness

4 April 2015
An analysis of the ethics of happiness in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics.

This paper deals with what Aristotle termed as man’s “highest good”–happiness–and to what extent happiness depends on material factors like fame and fortune.
“In book one of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle muses over what he terms as The Highest Good, happiness. He wonders about what it means to be happy and to what extent happiness is dependent on factors such as fate and fortune. One of the questions he raises along this line of inquiry has to do with the Greek saying, Count no man happy until he [is] dead. He begins to deal with this question in section 1.82 of Irwin’s translation. He first takes the Greek saying quite seriously, asking the reader if it is possible for someone to be happy after they die. Quickly, he points out that this interpretation is absurd after all, if happiness is an activity, how can someone who is dead take part in it (1100a14)”
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