September 5, 2012


I am curious as to how Aristotle came up with his opening idea, “Good is that at which all things aim.” This idea made me wonder about “Good” more than any of the possible definitions of throughout the passage. For instance, if a criminal successfully robs a bank, everything has been “Good” from their perspective because their ends have been met. However, the situation turned out horribly for the majority of the people involved. Is there a majority balance that would dictate whether that situation would be considered good or bad? The beginning idea led me believe that Aristotle was going to come up with a solid definition of “Good” by the end of the passage, so when I reached the end, I was relieved to find a vague conclusion: "For good appears to be one thing in one pursuit or art and another in another: it is different in medicine from what it is in strategy, and so on with the rest of the arts." (Page 25) Good is used to describe too broad of a spectrum of positive things to place a hard definition upon it.


Kenneth said...

I agree. Of course, each person hopes that their endeavors succeed, but we know that many people work in opposition to each other. Some people do work towards a conscious good that they have decided on. Others work in direct opposition to those people. In some cases, hopefully in politics, both forces believe that what they are trying to do is in the service of what is good. In the case of a bank robber, I think Aristotle might argue that this person is aware of good and chose to do the opposite, or is ignorant of what is good and what isn't.
When it comes down to it, though, I do think that his definition of "good" is far too broad.

Kathrynn Ward said...

I thought this exact same thing as I was reading that statement. The only difference is that I thought of murder. How could murder have an intention of good? I do not agree in the sense that all things search for some type of good. I believe that there is also evil. Which is another motivation of action. I do agree that there is no clear definition of good or of any such general idea as happiness or virtue. They are all relative terms to perception and how the person perceives that the word means.

In response to what Kenneth said, Do people who do wrong know the opposite of good? I know, obviously in some cases they do. However, I can't help but think about situations like insanity. When someone commits murder because they truly, in their head, believe that "God" was calling them to do so. In thier mind, I think people like that believe that they are doing good.

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