Human Nature


ESSAY CATEGORY: Philosophy






Human nature

Grade:
B
Language:
English
System:
Country:
Taiwan

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11/6/96

Our life is full of problems. Reasoning is a usual way to response to problems which we
concern about. We reason in response to everyday problems. For instance, asked by
friends to go out dinner at a time when we have planned something else, we must decide
which one is more important for us at that moment of time, and whether to decline or to
adjust our schedule. Reasoning appropriate to problems like this has often been called
practical. Practical reasons might be said to be reasons for acting, and it is in some sense
point toward action. Practical reasoning has been much discussed by philosophers, and it
is catalogued under Moral Philosophy. For Aristotle’s moral philosophy, as it appears in his
document now called the Nicomachean ethics, reflects his teleological (goal-oriented)
metaphyics. In the Nicomachean ethics, where Aristotle considers a science of doing, and
acting in certain way to seek rational ends. The notion of Goal, or Purpose, is the principal
one in his moral theory.
Aristotle noted that every act is performed for some purpose, which he defined as the
"good" of that act, the end at which the activity aims. We perform an act because we find
its purpose to be worthwhile. Either the totality of our acts is an infinitely circular series:
Every morning we get up in order to eat breakfast, we eat breakfast in order to go to
work, we got to work in order to get money, we get money so we can buy food in order to
be able to eat breakfast, etc., etc., etc., in which case life would be a pretty meaningless
endeavor because this is just bunch of repeated and vain activities practicing if without a
purpose. Or there is some ultimate good toward which the purpose of all acts are
directed. If there is such a good, we should try to come to know it so that we can adjust
all our acts toward it in order to avoid that saddest of all tragedies – the wasted and vain
life
According to Aristotle, there is general verbal agreement that the end toward which all
human acts are directed is happiness; therefore, happiness is the human good since we
seek happiness for its own sake, not for the sake of something else. In a sense, realizing
the end of attaining happiness is an activity of making, and it’s the activity aims to make a
certain kind of man, living in a certain kind of society. Happiness might be explained as the
fruition of a man’s way of life, in the truly human aspect of that way of life. The good of
each thing is its own function; thus, vision is the good of the eye and walking is the good
of the foot. As Aristotle said in the Nicomachean ethics, "Every art and every inquiry, and
similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the
good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim." (11) However, unless
we philosophize about happiness and get to know exactly what it is and how to achieve it,
it will be stereotyped simply to say that happiness is the ultimate good. To determine the
nature of happiness, Aristotle turned to his metaphysical schema and asked, "What is the
function of the human?" In the same way he would ask about the function of a knife or a
cloth. He came to the conclusion that a human’s function is to engage in "an activity of the
soul which is in accordance with virtue and which follows a rational principle." Before
grasping this complicated definition , we must determine what virtues is and what kinds of
virtues there are. But first, we must have a basic understanding that Aristotle believed that
certain material conditions must hold before happiness can be achieved.
This list of conditions will show Aristotle’s elitism: We need good friends, riches, and
political power. We need a good birth, good children, and good looks. For the man who is
very ugly in appearance is not likely to be happy. Also we must not be