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Aristotle's concept of happiness

 
 
tintin
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:11 pm
Please see this English text ...

Focusing on Aristotle's concept of happiness scholars at the Ulrich Institute have developed an ethical doctrine that adapts ancient philosophic ideals to the daily concerns and dilemmas of modern life.

Can anyone elaborate this part..... "that adapts ancient philosophic ideals to the daily concerns and dilemmas of modern life" ?
what its trying to say ?
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 4,709 • Replies: 12
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High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 10:14 pm
@tintin,

Quote:

Quote:
...virtue in active exercise cannot be inoperative"it will of necessity act, and act well. And just as at the Olympic games the wreaths of victory are not bestowed upon the handsomest and strongest persons present, but on men who enter for the competitions"since it is among these that the winners are found,"so it is those who act rightly who carry off the prizes and good things of life.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0053%3Abekker+page%3D1099a
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0054%3Abekker+page%3D1099a

For Aristotle happiness lies not in attributes or possession but in action - the right action. You may want to read the text (the book is Nichomachean Ethics) from the beginning to follow his argument. The links are to both the original and to the English translation and navigation is from the page markers above the text.
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kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 10:30 pm
@tintin,
All one can say is that the definition of happiness used by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, where happiness is the highest good and the end at which all our activities ultimately aim is translated into how to live a good life in modern terms. If one defines "good" as an activity of the rational soul in accordance with virtue, and virtue for the ancient Greeks was equivalent to excellence, the path towards happiness would be to live one's life with the pursuit of excellence as a motivation.

There really is no space between Aristotle and the Buddha in this since both consider the Middle Way, between asceticism and hedonism, with the Buddha or Aristotle's moral virtue as a disposition to behave in the right manner and as a mean between extremes of deficiency and excess, which are vices.

The late 20th century philosophers, Ted Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esq, distilled these philosophies down to, "Be excellent to each other!"
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 10:57 pm
@kuvasz,
Hi Kuvasz! I haven't read the other philosophers you mention, but Aristotle says as much - getting to the practical considerations now that Tintin was trying to find out - in the very next paragraph on the page I just linked, 1099a:
Quote:
... actions in conformity with virtue must be essentially pleasant. But they are also of course both good and noble, and each in the highest degree, if the good man judges them rightly; and his judgement is as we have said. It follows therefore that happiness is at once the best, the noblest, and the pleasantest of things: these qualities are not separated as the inscription at Delos makes out:

“Justice is noblest, and health is best,
But the heart's desire is the pleasantest",

for the best activities possess them all; and it is the best activities, or one activity which is the best of all, in which according to our definition happiness consists. Nevertheless it is manifest that happiness also requires external goods in addition, as we said; for it is impossible, or at least not easy, to play a noble part unless furnished with the necessary equipment.
kuvasz
 
  1  
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 11:49 pm
@High Seas,
well, actually....... that's Socrates on the right.

http://unrealitymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/bill-teds-keanu_l.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_and_Ted's_Excellent_Adventure
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 12:45 am
@kuvasz,
Thanks for the pic - and I also have a present for you: 30 centuries before us Odysseus left for the Trojan war, took his time returning to Ithaca, and when he finally got back the only one who recognized him was his dog Smile
Quote:

As they were thus talking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Odysseus had bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any work out of him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come and draw it away to manure the great field; and he was full of fleas. As soon as he saw Odysseus standing there, he dropped his ears and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When Odysseus saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear from his eyes without Eumaios seeing it, and said:

"Eumaios, what a noble hound that is over yonder on the manure heap: his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept merely for show?"

"This hound," answered Eumaios, "belonged to him who has died in a far country. If he were what he was when Odysseus left for Troy, he would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their work when their master's hand is no longer over them, for Zeus takes half the goodness [aretê] out of a man when he makes a slave of him."

As he spoke he went inside the buildings to the room where the suitors were, but Argos died as soon as he had recognized his master.

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0218%3Abook%3D17%3Acard%3D7
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:00 am
@High Seas,
PS of course it's incomparably more bautiful - however heartbreaking - in the original:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.0135%3Abook%3D17%3Acard%3D290
Quote:
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:08 am
@tintin,
I don't think your previous respondents understand that this is an ESL question so here is an answer to the actual question you did ask.

tintin wrote:
Can anyone elaborate this part..... "that adapts ancient philosophic ideals to the daily concerns and dilemmas of modern life" ?
what its trying to say ?


This sentence is saying that they have adapted old philosophy to modern life and its problems.
High Seas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 01:11 am
@Robert Gentel,
Thanks Robert!
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:20 am
@Robert Gentel,
I don't think that you took the time to actually diest what I or High Seas wrote or you would not have posted that we misunderstood tin tin.

Quote:
All one can say is that the definition of happiness used by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics, where happiness is the highest good and the end at which all our activities ultimately aim is translated into how to live a good life in modern terms.


But to the 21st century reader, for the sake of clarity it should be pointed out that happiness is not defined today the same way as Aistotle did. That is what must be understood to read the meaning of his words in his Nicomachean Ethics, 25 centuries after it was written.
0 Replies
 
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:32 am
@High Seas,
Nice passages from Homer. But I can't see how posting a pertainent quote from Aristotle or Homer would cause an a2ker to give another patron of the site a thumbs down. I think that undermines the intention of the site as a knowledge source.
High Seas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 10:42 am
@kuvasz,
Yes as to your first point - Homer's Iliad and Odyssey stand at the dawn of all Western Civilization, and to me (to you also I think) that scene with Odysseus's dog is so profoundly anchored in our entire culture (as are the horses of Achilles and the other Acheans, of course) that if I had to name one, just one, element in which we truly do differ from other cultures it is this: we truly do love dogs, horses, and all other animals who so often save our lives (think of dolphins saving drowning sailors, well known and amply documented by the ancient Greeks), while other peoples seem to have no such tradition.

On your other point - some forum dimwits with nothing better to do are following around posters to downgrade posts - wouldn't worry about it. Robert did say we were off point (Tintin seems to need basic English, not Aristotelian nous) but I can't imagine he'd waste any time to thumb anyone down - he's too intelligent for that. Anyway, note to Tintin: if you're starting from French, German, or Italian, we can help in those languages as well.
kuvasz
 
  2  
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 11:11 am
@High Seas,
I think I know the culprit, having been attacked by the party as a know-it-all for attempting to direct the use of the definition of Value used by Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics as a jumping off point on Robert's thread on whaling.

But ah, Homer, what can be said about his work that hasn't been said? I read the Fitzgerald translation of the Illiad every few years simply for the beauty of the words and images they conjure. Hector is the heroic ideal and my favorite character in literature. The passage you quote is one of the most heart-rendering in the mythology, but the scene that gives me the most chills is the departure of Hector from his wife and son to meet Achilles on the plain of Illium. That acceptance of facing directly one's fate with dignity makes a hero out of a mere mortal, and a life-lesson for any who read Homer.

btw, The older I get the more enjoy the mind of Aristotle.
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