September 5, 2012

What defines "good"?

For Aristotle’s essay I felt like it went back and forth between opinions. He tried to explain both sides of the story as a way to show how his was correct. But, I felt like a lot of what Aristotle stated could have been argued by talking about certain definitions or opinions of words. He gives us his definition of what he thinks “Good” means which is “That which all things aim” (Pg. 3 Aristotle). This definition in turn becomes his main thesis for the rest of the essay. How does this definition help define Happiness? Knowledge? Politics? Virtue? What is the relation between all of these terms? How do they interact with each other?

The answer? His definitions relate to one another and lead up to each other. Politics was introduced as a Master Art and as a way to achieve the Supreme Good and Ultimate End. Which he later comes to dispel by arguing what makes one good better, or more supreme than the other? The relationship between the definitions of “good” and “politics” in our culture now are very different, from my perspective, to how it was back then. Not the dictionary definition but rather maybe more of a personal opinion.

He defined Happiness as “’the good life’ or ‘doing well’ to be the same thing as ‘being happy’”. He argues that happiness changes depending on the situation. He does the same thing towards the end of the article when talking about wishes by saying “And those on the other hand who say what appears to be wished for, are forced to admit that there is no such thing as that which is by nature wished for, but that what each man thinks to be good is wished for in his case; yet different, and it may be opposite, things appear good to different people” (Aristotle, 141). In this case, can’t we say that happiness and good will appear as different things to different people as well? There is no thing as being born intrinsically “good” we have to decide for ourselves if it is “good” or not. 

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