Posted at 10.14.2018
In the writings of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics' and the Book X, he discusses the idea of contemplative life how delight can be proven through virtue. In such a paper, I am going to argue the reason why Aristotle has provided in establishing his theory a contemplative life is the best life to live, and offer reasons as to the reasons I believe his arguments are persuasive enough to be considered truthful.
To establish an understanding on Aristotle's ideas about contemplative life, we must first recognize the relationships he makes between pleasure and virtue. Aristotle identifies the ences to virtue are with regards to virtues linked to the soul instead of the body. He divides the heart into three parts, the nutritive soul, the desiring heart and soul and the reasoning heart. In the three elements of the heart, only the reasoning heart is unique to humans and thus sets us apart. Reasoning is what sets us apart from all other animals, which leads Aristotle to summarize that reasoning is the function of individual life. He goes on to convey that "evidently happiness must be put among those advisable in themselves, not among those attractive for the sake of another thing; for happiness does not lack anything, but is self-sufficient And of the nature virtuous activities are usually" (Aristotle, p. 46).
Aristotle starts by saying that pleasure " is regarded as most intimately linked with our human being character it is thought, too, that to take pleasure from the things we ought and to hate the items we ought gets the very best bearing on virtue of personality" (Aristotle, p. 43). Aristotle starts to discuss what would be accepted as a good pleasure and an awful pleasure, and is convinced that there are certain lives we would reject because they are bad no matter how much pleasure it could bring. He proceeds to summarize that pleasure is due to activity and since "nobody is continuously delighted humans are not capable of continuous activity" (Aristotle, p. 45).
Aristotle comes to the conclusion that "If joy is activity in accordance with virtue. . . it ought to be relative to the highest virtue" (Aristotle, p. 47), this results in the question of what the highest virtue is. Based on his earlier conclusions, pleasure relates to activity and virtue, so the highest virtue must produce the most pleasure; Aristotle believes that the function of man is reasoning and so continues to conclude that the best virtue is always to match the function of man. This concludes that the best virtue would be reasoning and thus a life of contemplation could be the best life.
Aristotle continues to aid this final result, "firstly, this activity is the foremost (since not only is reason a very important thing in us, but the subject of reason are the best of knowable items); and secondly, it's the most ongoing, since we can contemplate real truth more continuously that we can do anything. And we think enjoyment has pleasure mingled with it, however the activity of philosophic wisdom is admittedly the pleasantest of virtuous activities" (Aristotle, p. 47). He feels that contemplation isn't just the highest virtue but it is self-sufficient, which he thinks is another reason why contemplation is the greatest kind of life, it does not rely solely on intrinsic prices that other lives rely on. "And the self-sufficiency that is spoken of must belong most to the contemplative activity. For while a philosopher. And a just man or one having any virtue, needs the necessaries of life, when they are sufficiently outfitted with things of this type the just man needs people towards whom and with whom he shall take action justly, and the temperate man, the brave man and each one of the others is in the same case, but the philosopher, even when by himself, can contemplate real truth, and the better the wiser he's; they can perhaps achieve this task better if has fellow-workers, but nonetheless he is the most self-sufficient. And this activity only would appear to be enjoyed for its own sake; for little or nothing arises from it aside form the contemplating, while from practical activities we gain pretty much in addition to the action" (Aristotle, p. 47).
Aristotle switches target to the life span of the Gods'. He says, "We assume the gods to be above all other beings blessed and happy" (Aristotle, p. 48). Aristotle goes on in declaring that the gods have no need for the items humans fuss about. He views these actions as "trivial and unworthy of the gods" (Aristotle, p. 48). Still the gods live and must do something to occupy the time, he will not think that they rest, and such if they do no worry about human concerns and are not in circumstances of constant sleeping Aristotle concludes that they must be in a state of contemplation. "if you take away from a living being action, and still more production, what is kept but contemplation?" (Aristotle, p. 48).
Aristotle argues that the life span of reason and contemplation will be the happiest, because the Gods will be the happiest of us all, plus they a life of contemplation. "Therefore the activity of God, which surpasses others in blessedness, must be contemplative; and of human activities, therefore, whatever is most comparable to this must be almost all of the nature of enjoyment" (Aristotle, p. 48).
When evaluating Aristotle's reasoning behind his idea that the contemplative life is the best life, his justification for the fact that pleasure is linking to the fulfillment of the function of humans - reasoning - and thus contemplation is perfectly considered and the ideas are incredibly plausible. Aristotle's idea is further strengthened by his reason of the gods and their way of life.
Aristotle's justification of mankind and the life span of contemplation are incredibly convincing. He's proven fact that the functional character of humans is reason, appears to be true, since it is definitely what separates us from all the animals (as far as we know). If this is the difference in which separates humans from animals, and that pleasures are drawn from virtues, then Aristotle's hyperlink between the function of humans and the best virtue contributes to a contemplative life. It could seem only logical that best life for a real human to live will be a contemplative life that is self-sustaining.
Aristotle feels that because the gods live a contemplative life that we should as well. He clarifies that the gods have no dependence on things that humans fret about, "won't the gods seem absurd if indeed they make contracts and return debris, and so forth? Acts of fearless men, then confronting problems and running risks because it is noble to do so? the circumstances of action would be found trivial and unworthy of the gods" (Aristotle, p. 48). Aristotle goes on to point out that given that they do not part-take in these actions that they would only be lift up with the action of contemplation. This action would be most worth the gods since contemplation is seen as acquiring knowledge, and since the gods are sensible and powerful, it would only make sense that the wise are constantly contemplating. Since humans dread gods, we push ourselves to please them, use the gods for example of how to live on one's own life. So that it would only be reasonable that if the gods lived a life of contemplation, that as the enthusiasts of god you might make an effort to live a life of contemplation as well.