A Look at Aristotle's Ethics

             Prior to a look at Aristotle's ethics, I feel it is important to look at the man and his background.

             Aristotle, an Ionian, was born in Stagira, a Greek town on the northwest shores of the Aegean Sea in 384 .

             B.C. At the age of eighteen he entered Plato's school called the Academy, staying there for nearly twenty .

             years. Plato was quick to realize Aristotle's abilities and called him the Academy's "brightest and most .

             learned student". While there he wrote "popular writings" for general discussion outside the Academy.

             After Plato's death, Aristotle left the Academy and lived with a few disciples of Plato. It was .

             during this period of his life that he took a wife. Her name was Pithias, the adopted daughter of his friend .


             In approximately 342 B.C. Aristotle was invited by King Philip II to supervise the education of his .

             son Alexander. After Philip II was assassinated, Alexander took over the throne. He later conquered all of .

             Greece and the Persian Empire and soon became known as Alexander the Great.


             In 334 B.C. Aristotle returned to Athens and opened a school called the Lyceum. It was there that .

             he took on the teaching practices of Socrates. He wrote treatises and memoranda to be used as student .

             guides and lecture notes.

             In 323 B.C., after the death of Alexander, Aristotle was charged with impiety by the Athenians. .

             This charge was thought to stem from his friendship with Alexander. Aristotle fled Athens because he .

             remembered what had happened to Socrates. He went to Chalcis so the Athenians would not "sin twice .

             against philosophy". He died the following year.

             Aristotle realized that happiness in the ultimate goal of a person's life. All that a person is and .

             does should be directed toward this end. To arrive at goodness one must contemplate what universal and .

             eternal truths are and how these can be mastered in terms of each person's life style. Wealth to many is a .

             pleasurable goal, but by itself it does not bring happiness.

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