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1 .Listen to part of a lecture in a philosophy class.
1 .OK. Another ancient Greek philosopher we need to discuss is Aristotle - Aristotle's ethical theory.
2 .What Aristotle's ethical theory is all about is this: he's trying to show you how to be happy - what true happiness is.
1 .Now, why is he interested in human happiness?
2 .It's not just because it's something that all people want or aim for.
3 .It's more than that.
4 .But to get there we need to first make a very important distinction.
5 .Let me introduce a couple of technical terms: extrinsic value and intrinsic value.
1 .To understand Aristotle's interest in happiness, you need to understand this distinction.
1 .Some things we aim for and value, not for themselves but for what they bring about in addition to themselves.
2 .If I value something as a means to something else, then it has what we will call "extrinsic value".
3 .Other things we desire and hold to be valuable for themselves alone.
4 .If we value something not as a means to something else, but for its own sake, let us say that it has "intrinsic value".
1 .Exercise. There may be some people who value exercise for itself, but I don't, I value exercise because if I exercise, I tend to stay healthier than I would if I didn't.
2 .So I desire to engage in exercise and I value exercise extrinsically... not for its own sake, but as a means to something beyond it.
3 .It brings me good health.
1 .Health. Why do I value good health?
2 .Well, here it gets a little more complicated for me.
3 .Um, health is important for me because I can't... do other things I want to do - play music, teach philosophy - if I'm ill.
4 .So health is important to me - has value to me - as a means to a productive life.
5 .But health is also important to me because I just kind of like to be healthy - it feels good.
6 .It's pleasant to be healthy, unpleasant not to be.
7 .So to some degree I value health both for itself and as a means to something else: productivity.
8 .It's got extrinsic and intrinsic value for me.
1 .Then there's some things that are just valued for themselves.
2 .I'm a musician, not a professional musician; I just play a musical instrument for fun.
3 .Why do I value playing music?
4 .Well, like most amateur musicians, I only play because, well, I just enjoy it.
5 .It's something that's an end in itself.
1 .Now, something else I value is teaching.
2 .Why? Well, it brings in a modest income, but I could make more money doing other things.
3 .I'd do it even if they didn't pay me.
4 .I just enjoy teaching.
5 .In that sense it's an end to itself.
1 .But teaching's not something that has intrinsic value for all people - and that's true generally.
2 .Most things that are enjoyed in and of themselves vary from person to person.
3 .Some people value teaching intrinsically, but others don't.
1 .So how does all this relate to human happiness?
2 .Well, Aristotle asks: is there something that all human beings value... and value only intrinsically, for its own sake and only for its own sake?
3 .If you could find such a thing, that would be the universal final good, or truly the ultimate purpose or goal for all human beings.
4 .Aristotle thought the answer was yes.
5 .What is it? Happiness.
6 .Everyone will agree, he argues, that happiness is the ultimate end to be valued for itself and really only for itself.
7 .For what other purpose is there in being happy?
8 .What does it yield?
9 .The attainment of happiness becomes the ultimate or highest good for Aristotle.
1 .The next question that Aristotle raises is: what is happiness?
2 .We all want it; we all desire it; we all seek it.
3 .It's the goal we have in life.
4 .But what is it? How do we find it?
5 .Here he notes, with some frustration, people disagree.
1 .But he does give us a couple of criteria, or features, to keep in mind as we look for what true human happiness is.
2 .True human happiness should be, as he puts it, complete.
3 .Complete in that it's all we require.
4 .Well, true human happiness... if you had that, what else do you need?
1 .And, second, true happiness should be something that I can obtain on my own.
2 .I shouldn't have to rely on other people for it.
3 .Many people value fame and seek fame.
4 .Fame for them becomes the goal.
5 .But, according to Aristotle, this won't work either, because fame depends altogether too much on other people.
6 .I can't get it on my own, without help from other people.
1 .In the end, Aristotle says that true happiness is the exercise of reason - life of intellectual contemplation... of thinking.
2 .So let's see how he comes to that.