In the minds of Plato and Aristotle, happiness is the end goal of life, and the worth of everything else, including goodness, justice, and virtue, is based on whether or not it is beneficial as means to this end. Modern American society, though defining happiness differently, in many ways reflects the Greeks’ idea that happiness is the reason for human life. Supported by the Christian and Hebrew Bible, this essay will attempt to debunk the Greeks’ theory, which will implicitly criticize the modern American pursuit. It will be shown that entities such as goodness, justice, and virtue are desirable in themselves, regardless of whether or not happiness follows their attainment. Furthermore, Aristotle’s defined happiness is neither the end nor the universal cause of human action, but rather a component and byproduct of the true end. Happiness is not the reason for which man lives; he exists for a much higher calling, one that defies the simplicity of the Greeks’ philosophical ponderings.
"The Purpose of Life,"
Vol. 8, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/globaltides/vol8/iss1/6