September 4, 2012

What is Good?

I found the first book of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics to be extremely thought provoking. The general idea/question behind the reading is simply: What is Good? It is thought that all means must end is good, but is Good the exact ending, or rather the path to get to that ending?

He goes on to question the reader about can Good be interpreted by different sciences? Or rather by different humans? He begins to agree upon the idea that the conception of 'the Good" is debatable and situational- therefore Aristotle focuses on the generalities of good (7), a broad outline of the truth (9). Aristotle brings up that most men agree that a combination of health, wealth, and honor constitutes "goodness", but reversely questions if another Good exists that causes of these things listed of being good.

Towards the end of the reading the author concludes that Good cannot be summed up into a universal notion. Not every man will agree on what can and will define "good". This assumption leads him into his next idea: does defining good into a concrete Idea make it any more good? Although a concrete definition does not exist, most of society would agree that knowing the Ideal Good will guide us in life to making everyday good choices that will contribute the the overall Good of the world.

1 comment:

Zach van Dijk said...

I believe Aristotle's conception of "good" is truly a composite thought. That "goodness" is derived from an "all around education...experience of life and conduct" (9). Aristotle mentions the "Life of of politics...and life of contemplation" (13-14). He acknowledges these forms of life/their fulfillment to be the general conception of goodness for many men. However, to ultimately achieve/realize "the notion of Universal good," one must accept a broader compilation of all forms of life (17). One must strive to attain virtue in all things in order to satisfy a greater good, "all studies and undertakings are directed to the attainment of some good" (11).

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