Monday, March 18, 2019
The Pursuit of Happiness and the Union of Aristotle and Genesis Essay
The Pursuit of Happiness and the Union of Aristotle and Genesis Two major schools of thought broadly influenced the development of the moral code of Western Civilization. The Judeo-Christian tradition gave us faith and God by dint of the text of the Bible. The old-fashi whizzd Greeks gave us philosophical inquiry and the nifty through the teachings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle proposes that the Good is the highest stopping point of spells actions. Happiness is the Good because it is the only end man pursues with no new(prenominal) end in mind. A man obtains this highest end by living his life in a chaste manner. In marked contrast, a careful reading of Genesis shows that, in the world of the Hebrews, the highest end of a mans actions is faith in and communication with God himself. Oneness with God is the highest end because no other god exists. A man obtains this highest end by obeying Gods commands and fulfilling Gods plan for hi m. On first examination, the differences between these twain constructs seem negligible. But when we look closely at the ways in which the men of Genesis obtain their highest ends, we find that their means are less(prenominal) than virtuous in the eyes of Aristotle. To reach God, the ends seem to justify the means, art object to reach the Good, the virtuous path is crucial. Although this inherent difference in the two systems of morality seems to oppose them to one a nonher, the difference between them has rattling helped meld them together to form our modern view of happiness. We need both(prenominal) views that wicked means will corrupt even the best ends, and that grave ends can justify any means. In fact, there are stories in each text that describe a man who finds happiness through God, or the Good, ... ...e which cannot be taken away second, according to Genesis, because we have been minded(p) happiness by communion with a God who is ever present. Although not everyone considered to be a member of Western society holds these views on happiness, one can see these two roots in our construct of happiness. In our very American constitution, we acknowledge our inalienable right to the pursuit of happiness. This diction represents nothing other than the ultimate union of Aristotle and Genesis we are guaranteed as humans, as a God-given right, the ability to strive for happiness through the Aristotelic process. NOTES1. Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, trans. Martin Ostwald (Upper Saddle River Prentice Hall, 1999).2. Genesis, trans. Robert Alter (New York W.W. Norton & Company, 1996).3. The Holy Bible, King James form (New York American Bible Society).