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.