Nicomachean Ethics And Utilitarianism Philosophy Research Paper

1062 words - 5 pages

To be human is to live a happy life, while making other people happy as well along the way. In today’s day in age, most people find themselves trying to capture happiness in any way possible. Whether it be posting a nice picture on Instagram or opening the door for an elderly person, everyone has their own definition and path to happiness. As a young child, I always found myself the happiest when I would make another person smile and feel better about themselves. The simple act of making someone feel better creates a thrill that ultimately inspired me to pursue Biology, in hopes of someday becoming a doctor. Both Aristotle and John Stuart Mill embody this reasoning. Aristotle says to have good habits and to take action in them. John Stuart Mill also focuses on happiness and habits, but most importantly the action of spreading happiness.
In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle is seen describing the art of making choices. He believes that every action is thought to aim at some sort of good. At the end of the day, happiness stands alone and is our ultimate end. All goals are seen leading to happiness. I believe that there are moral virtues that are acquired through habituation or practice because they cannot be taught nor could be obtained through intuition. Good examples could be courage and calmness. There are also virtues such as proper decision making and rational choice making that are acquired through teaching. Achieving these require time and experience. The particular excellences of character that we should attempt to cultivate within ourselves are the characteristics that make us a good person and help us lead a happy life. These characteristics can be described as kindness, fairness and honesty. No one is born virtuous or vicious. One does not acquire excellence of character by nature or just by thinking about it, instead it is acquired by practicing it. This is evident when Aristotle describes, “…but the virtues we get by first exercising them, as also happens in the case of the arts as well. For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them, e.g., men become builders by building and lyre players by playing the lyre; so too we become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts” (Aristotle 21). The excellence of character is cultivated by habituation of virtuous skills, until one performs them effortlessly and takes pleasure in acting the right way. As I mentioned previously, making my classmates laugh or smile made me extremely happy as a child. This characteristic of mine ultimately followed me throughout my life. Till this day, I find happiness in others. As I volunteer in a hospital, I get to see patients daily. I do small acts that not only impact me overall mood, but it brings happiness to them as well. An example of this is when patients ask me to call a loved one in for them. Aristotle mentions how one becomes virtuous when the characteristics practiced come out...

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