Question

Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle
1. Why is it important, in a discussion of happiness, to discuss the nature of the soul?
2. How does the mean relative to us differ from the mathematical mean?
3. Why is the mean relative to us never a mathematical mean?
4. Give two examples of a virtue as a mean between two extremes (and explain why the virtue is the virtue, and why the extremes are extremes).

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Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

-Why is it important, in a discussion of happiness, to discuss the nature of the soul?

It might seem strange to us that Aristotle, in a discussion of happiness, discuses the nature of the soul, but if we look at what Aristotle meant by both ‘happiness’ and the nature of the soul, it will make the discussion more clear. The Greek word for ‘happiness’ is eudaimonia, which roughly translates as ‘human flourishing’ -- so when Aristotle in the Ethics talks about happiness as a certain activity of the soul in accordance with complete virtue (1102b) he is referring to the concept of ethical virtue, i.e., right action that helps a person to flourish in life. Both the concept of soul and happiness connote psychological ideas rather than religious ones in Aristotle....

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