Bentham said ‘the principle of utility aims to promote happiness which is the supreme ethical value.’ In determining how to measure different amounts of pleasure and deciding on the right and good thing to do Bentham came up with the Hedonistic Calculus. This was a calculus to weigh up pain and pleasure and a way of testing whether an action is morally right, one that results in the most pleasurable outcome. It is measured in a quantitative way. Looking at the quantity of happiness produced from the action. It consists of seven key elements which measure different aspects of happiness.
“What is the highest of all goods? It is happiness.” The great Greek philosopher Aristotle developed the normative ethical theory of Virtue Ethics and here argues that happiness is the highest good and what we should all strive to achieve. This theory focuses on the kind of person we should become rather than the actions we should do or avoid and is therefore aretaic. Aretai’ from the Greek essentially means virtue, and this is the heart of Virtue Ethics; that people should concentrate on practicing excellence and being virtuous in order to reach happiness, which is the highest goodness according to Aristotle. Morality is not simply about avoiding the wrong, but is also about doing what is virtuous.
Aristotle also suggests happiness conforms to goodness of virtue (Kucukuysal and Beyhan, 2011). To be happy and good, one must make the right choices. Virtue is taught and learned. The ability to define happiness and decide what is virtuous is an individual choice based upon life teachings and experience. In order to make someone else happy, you must be happy with yourself.
Obtaining Eudaemonia Through Arete: Aristotle’s Account on the Virtue of Character In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle determines that happiness is the ultimate human good. Defined as excellence in rational activity, happiness is “a certain sort of activity of the soul in accord with complete virtue” (1102a5). Because he asserts that virtues control happiness, Aristotle provides a thorough account of virtue in order to understand how one must secure happiness. While virtues of thought are important, virtues of character are of significant value for they are the states of human beings that ultimately allow for the attainment of happiness. In his presentation of virtue of character, Aristotle illustrates how they’re acquired, what they consist in and considers whether they are voluntary.
All actions are related to an underlying principle. Kantian thought supports the idea that the actions are justified by a set of rules outlined in Kantianism. Utilitarianism is based on the idea of a greater good. Positive and negative consequences are quantified and the most positive consequence for the greatest amount of people is chosen, sometimes at the expense of others. For utilitarian school of thought, an individual strives to do the most good, even at the expense of the minority.
Aristole supported that justice is the high road to democracy. In addition, the second way is to seek the happiness for their citizens. Because democracy is based on good will and mutual understanding. The relation between democracy and happiness was based on mutual dependence. Aristotle thought that is the purpose of the whole life and happiness belongs to the human's mind.
Aristotle is very persuasive in his discussion of virtue and the excellences. He mainly argues that virtue is, in a moral sense, a product of habit. Intellectual excellence, on the other hand, is derived mainly from teaching. According to Aristotle, "Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do excellences arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit." Moral virtue is then a product of nature, or habit.
This is translated as “happiness” however; it is more the idea of thriving and flourishing personally and within society. Aristotle also said that reason, which he says we should us in order to comply with natural law, is not just about knowing how to think and understand but how to act. Thomas Aquinas was also a Greek philosopher. He used Aristotle and the stoic’s ideas about natural law and incorporated those with his own; he approached the natural law theory with more of a Christian view. It is important to note that Aquinas looked up to and was influenced heavily by Aristotle.
Nichomachean Ethics is a series of chapters, books, put together by Aristotle’s son, Nichomachean. In his Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle is quoted: “Happiness is a certain sort of activity of the soul accord with complete excellence.” In other words, happiness is not a state of being, rather than an activity that one’s soul does. The only way for someone to reach true happiness is to reach “complete excellence”. One can reach complete excellence, by being a virtuous character and achieving the ultimate and self-sufficient goal of happiness, “eudaimonia. In order for a person to reach “complete excellence”, one must have a clear understanding of what “eudaimonia” is and know what to do to
Aristotle advanced the philosophy of ethics, where he demonstrated that it is a means of achieving an end to happiness. However, happiness means many things to different people. To Aristotle, the most adequate way to pursue happiness is through the virtue of excellence. In his writings, Aristotle connected his therory of virtue to economics, and leadership as well. It is a matter of connecting ones personal ethics to that of ones business ethics., simply because Aristotle made no disticntion between ethics and politics.