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Aristotle’s motivation for the ‘function argument’ is the search for an account of what is best or the most good for human beings – what constitutes the highest good for a person? One way to answer such a question would be to create a list of the things or states of being that would count as good and then attempt to order that list. But how would such a list be ordered? What would the criteria be? However, instead of attempting an ‘algorithm’ or procedure for ordering such a list, Aristotle chooses another direction: Perhaps the highest good for a person would be good—and thereby desirable—without reference to anything else; and, in some way, everything else that is good would be good and desirable because they involved or promoted the highest good, i.e. anything else which counts as good would do so because of the highest good.
Assume, then, that the highest good could be described in the more familiar terms of ‘living well’ or well-being – or happiness. Notice that this is a reasonable assumption (albeit an incredibly loaded, complex one). But, what is it for a human being to live well? Aristotle—in another critical assumption...
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