i like this summary of aristotle’s views on the good life. i took a class on aristotle in grad school and am fairly sure i am an aristotelian at heart. erin and i have been debating it for years. plato versus aristotle (who’s right), and which are each of us? here’s a bit i like:
Happiness, for Aristotle, is not something that comes to us from the outside. Rather, happiness is an inside job. Happiness is an activity, not a passivity (something that happens to you). It is an activity rooted in human choices. In other words, if someone is unhappy, it is because he has not chosen well. And if one is happy, it is only because he has chosen well. Remember, a good man is one who reasons well and chooses well. Hence, a good man is a happy man. Happiness, according to Aristotle, is going to result from making choices that promote the fullness of one’s nature. Now human nature has specific powers, namely, intellect, will, and the concupiscible and irascible appetites. And so human happiness is going to lie in the perfection of those human powers.