September 14

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Final Ends

In addition to means/ends analysis, many philosophers hold that there is some ultimate “final good” that our actions aim at. We will introduce this notion with a short text from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, wherein he argues that the final end or final good is eudaimonia, a term translated variously as “happiness” or “flourishing,” and passages from Plato. We will then test theory against our own experiences as these have become elucidated in the Desire Exercises. Part of the period will also be spent learning about philosophical arguments and the terminology used to talk about them.

Before Class

  • Final Ends Exercise
  • Discussion question for breakout section: Aristotle says that there is something all our desires and actions aim at: happiness (eudaimonia). Did your desire map lead to a single final end?  Could you plausibly say that all your other desires are ultimately aimed at happiness? Are any of your other ends desired only for their own sake and not for any further goal?
  • Try to reconstruct Aristotle’s argument that eudaimonia (happiness) is the ultimate end of all our actions in your own words.

After Class