Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Eudaimonia For The Average Man College

In The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle concerns himself with eudaimonia, the concept of a happy and fulfilling life. Eudaimonia is gained from meaningful happiness, which in turn in achieved through virtuous acts. Greek culture often favored the noble and wealthy over the common class of citizen. However, Aristotle does not restrict his concept of eudaimonia to the rich, educated, and aristocratic. Rather, he believes that eudaimonia can be achieved by the average Greek citizen (it is unclear if he considers women to be capable of eudaimonia, due to the patriarchal nature of Greek society, but his philosophical ideas certainly apply to women no less than men). Aristotle’s concept of eudaimonia is meant to be an attainable goal for the average man, not just those in positions of power or privilege, and so can be readily applied to the lives of modern-day readers.

Aristotle defines virtue as the ultimate path to happiness and eudaimonia, and almost anyone can act virtuously. Virtue is achieved by acting morally good, and by achieving the mean between excess and deficiency in regards to various attributes of character. For example, “...in the field of fear and confidence, the mean is courage” (The Nicomachean Ethics, 1107b 1), and...

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