It may seem complicated to penetrate deeper into philosophy as such an endeavor requires people to concentrate on elevated matters while living up to their potential. Some people succeed, while others cannot find answers to philosophical questions even as they mature and continuously pose such conundrums to themselves. However, even those who find difficulties with such matters can become spiritual teachers, philosophers, or religious leaders. This implies that no philosophy is too complicated to be understood by the general public.
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Because the issues discussed by Aristotle over 2,300 years ago are ethical, they must be analyzed in light of the point of view of the conduct he suggested (Groff & Greco, 2013). To understand the basics of ethics, it is essential to establish the meanings of eudaimonia, virtue, and improvement through practice (Cohen, Curd, & Reeve, 2016).
Aristotle and Society
Although some scholars still believe that Aristotle was detached from his society, it is not exactly true. His involvement in social issues reveals itself in his understanding of ethics, consisting of three parts. Eudaimonia (flourishing, having “good demons”) implies that all human beings seek flourishing as the best end of all their actions. It must be kept in mind, however, that Aristotle was an empiricist; this implies that he was focused on what he saw and strove to achieve rather than on the intentions he might be supposed to have had (Durrant, 2015). He defined human beings as characterized by four major aspects (Martin, 2014):
- physical (requiring nourishment, sleep, and other factors that sustain living);
- emotional (having desires, reactions, and urges);
- social (living in societies, having social wants and needs);
- rational, including expression, creativity, and urge for knowledge. In general, this aspect deals with the necessity to follow reason.
Although Aristotle was far removed from the practice of psychological analysis that first became popular in the 20th century, his approach can be considered as deeply rooted in psychology (Putnam, 2014). This is supported by the fact that his thinking involved such aspects as virtue and ethics. His philosophy united several approaches and regarded a human being as a multidimensional creature, which accounts for his entirely new look at society (Kristjánsson, 2014).
Cohen, S. M., Curd, P., & Reeve, C. D. C. (2016). Readings in ancient Greek philosophy: From Thales to Aristotle. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing.
Durrant, M. (2015). Aristotle’s de anima in focus. London, UK: Routledge.
Groff, R., & Greco, J. (2013). Powers and capacities in philosophy: The new aristotelianism. London, UK: Routledge.
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Kristjánsson, K. (2014). There is something about Aristotle: The pros and cons of Aristotelianism in contemporary moral education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 48(1), 48-68.
Martin, C. (2014). Subverting Aristotle: Religion, history, and philosophy in early modern science. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press.
Putnam, H. (2014). Philosophy of logic (Routledge revivals). London, UK: Routledge.