Are taxes for entitlement programs, such as: welfare, Medicare, and Medicaid immoral? Why or why not? (complete after reading 5.4)
Why are you in this class?
Personal Benefit Requirement for graduation
Why is this important?…..and so on until you get to the “ultimate good”……to be happy.
The ancients, Aristotle in particular, believed that the most important thing in life is to live a “happy life”. A happy live consists of more than a good summer. Or a good four years of college……it consists of a whole lifetime. For Aristotle, the word happiness is …..which strictly means “well-spirited” or “living well.”
One will live well, according to Aristotle, if one is functioning as he should. The Greek word (translated as virtue) simply means “excellent.” So this means a knife can have just as much as a person can. An excellent knife is one which functions well. Likewise an excellent person is one who functions well. Thus, the key to a happy life, to doing what is “right,” is do figure out how to function properly.
The issue is to learn how to be a good person. Then, you will not worry about what to do in any given situation. You will be a good person, so you will do the right thing. What is the right thing? Normally, the right thing to do is to “act according to the mean.” (All virtues are actions that are on the “mean”). The excellent man will get angry at the right time, towards the right person, in the right amount and for the right reasons.
Unfortunately, we cannot learn how to be virtuous by just memorizing some definitions. Consider your college experience. Do you think the only thing you are learning is who wrote what on what date? Or which country took over where when? No. By preparing for tests, studying with others, and alone, by going to school events…….all these things prepare you in subtle ways for the real world. You will have good professors…..and bad ones. IN the real world you will have good bosses and bad ones. The key is to learn how to handle them……to learn how to prepare for life’s tests, how to get along with others, ect. All of these things try to teach good habits. Habits which you will take with you throughout your life.
Likewise, becoming a good person, one who functions well (thus you are virtuous), is a matter of learning the right habits. A person who is honest never has to ask whether she should tell the truth today……..she will…….that is what it means to be honest!
A generous person does not have to ask herself if she should help those who are less fortunate, she just does……otherwise she would not be generous!
If a person functions well, she will life a happy life……the goal for all of our behavior……….
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