06.02.2018: One Chapter of Nonfiction

Today's soundtrack is Kanye West: Ye

This morning, I'm continuing Aristotle's Ethics, in which I'll be reading the eighth chapter. 

There are three types of good: "(a) external, (c) of the soul, (c) of the body" (p. 41). Aristotle says that the second of these is the most important for our purposes. Since happiness is defined by Aristotle as a prompt to action in accordance with virtue by the soul, resulting in "certain acts or activities" (p. 41), so happiness is seen in people who live well, who not only possess virtue but exercise it. Possessing good qualities does not lead to happiness; rather, acting in accordance with those qualities that we possess is what leads to living well, which leads to happiness. 

Men seek pleasure through their actions, but for most, the pleasures are not inherently pleasurable. We must pursue the only action that is inherently pleasurable: virtuous actions, which include noble deeds, generosity, justice, etc. And since virtuous action is the only way to happiness, virtuous action is happiness. It is the desire of all men, whether or not they yet know it. Of course, to be happy, a man must have some possessions, some friends, etc; no matter how virtuous a man's actions, it will be very hard to be happy without a home or friends. But neither friends, nor money, nor a nice house can make a person happy; these things can only create conditions conducive to happiness.