Aristotle Research Proposal

Pages: 8 (2216 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

Aristotle can be considered one of the most complete Greek philosophers and, through the diversity of themes he has approached and debated throughout his life, a true man of Renaissance, despite born at a different time. Among the many subjects he has written extensively on are the ethical framework that characterize man and man's society, as well as notions such as happiness, justice or friendship. His approaches reveal a very practical perspective, one that often moves away from metaphysical concepts to find a simpler translation in the everyday mechanisms of human society and in the relationships that are created between the individuals members of society.

From this perspective, one of the most interesting areas where Aristotle's concepts of happiness or friendship can be discussed and applied is today's working environment, the simple space of the office where so many forces interact and where relationships are created because of so many different reasons, including political and social factors, as well as economical ones. From that basis, analyzing the way how Aristotle's ideas in happiness, justice and friendship would translate and apply to the workspace seems to be the best way to analyze these into practice.

This paper will aim at considering a certain situation at work and will debate the ethical issue created through the Aristotelian perspective, while using the first part of the paper as a descriptive instrument in which his main ideas on happiness, justice and friendship will be analyzed.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Research Proposal on Aristotle Can Be Considered One of the Assignment

Aristotle's debate on happiness and his attempt to define and analyze happiness starts, first of all, with showing and debating what happiness is not rather than what it is or could be. The approach is quite simple from his perspective: eliminating some of the characteristics of happiness and clearly showing and emphasizing what happiness cannot be will either eventually leave only those characteristics that are definitely true or will simply help in the overall approach to discover what happiness is. As such, happiness is not simple pleasure because "would be absurd if the end were amusement and if trouble and hardship throughout life would all be for the sake of amusing oneself"

. It is also not equivalent to fame or honor, although these may be components of happiness. In practical terms, the explanations that Aristotle provides can be translated through the fact that these approaches towards happiness are too superficial and, as such, they cannot be inclusive and exhaustive.

Following on this train of thought, Aristotle proposes a functional definition of happiness, in that happiness can be found by the individual "by ascertaining the specific function of man"

. Further more, when attempting to define what the specific function of man could or should be, Aristotle concludes that this can only be the one thing that makes the individual different from all other beings: the capacity to reason, to think events in a rational manner.

On the other hand, happiness is seeing by Aristotle as the sum of a list of elements that one needs in order to be happy. The list could be exhaustive and would include goods (in the sense of wealth, "bread on the table"), good health, practice of moral and intellectual virtues friends and good luck

. There is something additional that I would add to this list. In the modern work environment, a happy individual is also an individual whose qualities are recognized by the society or group he is part of. At the same time, I would also add that a happy individual will also possess, at one time or another, the constant need to surpass his own past performances, advance hierarchically in the organization (again, as a translation of the need to be recognized by the group) and become a better prepared individual.

The idea of justice is an important element in Aristotle's philosophical framework. In many ways, justice is the fundamental instrument that ethically governs the relations between individuals in a society. In his view, there are two types of justice, universal justice and particular justice. The universal justice governs society with respect to the way that laws are obeyed.

The particular justice is a much more complex subject. Taking into consideration and analyzing the justice of a certain act/action, one can say that this is unjust if it causes harm to another individual, but, at the same time, creates profit for the individual who commits the unjust act. Aristotle uses the example of adultery to describe particular injustice in his work. The definition of particular injustice is thus ties with the motivation that the individual has, in this case that of creating profit for himself to the detriment of a third party.

On the other hand, still ties with the economic fundamentals, particular justice can also be encountered in the case of the equitable distribution of goods. Because this distribution is sometimes done between individuals with different power, the role of justice would be to ensure that the respective distribution is done in an equitable manner between the parties involved.

The notion of friendship is extensively discussed in Aristotle's Books 8 and 9 of the "Nicomachean Ethics" and seen as "perhaps the highest summit of the moral life, on which virtue and happiness may be finally united"

. Friendship is seen and described by Aristotle in relationship with the individual, with friends acting as outer or other selves (in fact, quite often, as a reflection of the individual's own personality). According to Aristotle, there are three types of friendships: friendship of utility, friendship of pleasure and friendship of good.

The friendship of utility is considered to be a superficial type of friendship, mainly because it is a circumstantial friendship. In fact, given the fact that relationships such as business relations can be included here, this type of friendship has none of the profoundness of the other two categories. It is a friendship formed because the two parties expect to gain some profit from the respective relationship.

The friendships of pleasure are superficial friendships as well, because they are also based on a momentary satisfaction that derives from the pleasure that two friends enjoy in the company of one another. It is not the type of profound, long-term relationship, but one that has no solid basis and is short-termed. Both of these two categories of friendship discussed so far are important in their applicability to a situation in the workplace, because they show, according to Aristotle, that individuals are able to often set up relationships (friendships as he refers to them, although, in many cases, nothing more than simple acquaintances) for political reasons: a business that could be improved (friendship of utility) or a pleasant encounter (friendship of pleasure).

The most profound type of friendship is the friendship of the good, because this is the type of friendship that is not based on a temporal affinity, but on characters that much. From this perspective, it has a much more profound and solid basis than the other two categories of friendship. Besides the fact that the individual characters match, there is also another reason why this is a profound type of friendship: it surpasses the care for the individual self and translates into a deeper care, that for the friend. It thus turns the selfish individual into an altruistic human being, capable of the noblest feelings towards other individuals.

Turning to the modern workplace environment, there area several considerations worth discussing, each correlated in part with some of the ideas that Aristotle presents in his work regarding happiness, justice and friendship. The first consideration needs to be tied to the issue of happiness. More and more in today's working environment, individuals are no longer satisfied or happy simply with a high salary (sufficient external goods in Aristotle's happiness framework) or the security of the job. The complexity of the modern individual diversifies his needs, meaning that it will take overall more elements to make him happy.

Some of these are already included in Aristotle's list of things needed to be happy. Notably, "the opportunity to practice and the actual practice of intellectual virtues"

is a good equivalent of the idea that the working environment needs to offer the individual not only the conditions to express himself intellectually, but also the conditions to improve himself intellectually. This would mean appropriate training programs and a job that encourages intellectual creativity and imagination, as well as the possibility to exercise these in the working environment.

Beyond happiness, an interesting issue to discuss would be the Aristotelian idea of friendship as it translates in the workplace. Here, the three categories become much clearer in view of the relationships that develop at work. The most important observation would be that, especially in the workplace, politics are extremely important in ensuring the position of someone in the office. This does not necessarily have to have a negative connotation, but it is, in fact, tied to the fact that the individual accomplishments need to be properly marketed so that the right people find out about them and ensure… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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