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Aristotle

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What things does aristotle consider and then reject as candidates for the highest good? Aristotle rejects the modern liberal idea of autonomy (auto + nomos = lit. giving oneself one's own law). For him the citizen does not belong to himself, "but rather that all belong to the city" (Politics bks. 7 & 8). Common religious rites, citizen messes, required military service, regulated ages for marriage and rules for child bearing, and mandatory exposure of deformed infants.1 Eudaimonia (alternative spellings/pronunciations: eudaemonia or eudemonia) is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, "human flourishing" has been proposed as a more accurate translation.2 Etymologically, it consists of the words "eu" ("good") and "daimōn" ("spirit"). It is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics and political philosophy, along with the terms "aretē", most often translated as "virtue" or "excellence", and "phronesis", often translated as "practical or ethical wisdom".3 In Aristotle's works, eudaimonia was (based on older Greek tradition) used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider (and also experience) what it really is, and how it can be achieved. In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle also appears to reject that the highest good is god-given (at 1099b15).1

1 http://www.class.uidaho.edu/ngier/103/aristotle.htm
2 Daniel N. Robinson. (1999). Aristotle's Psychology. Published by Daniel N. Robinson. ISBN 0-9672066-0-X ISBN 978-0967206608
3 Rosalind Hursthouse (July 18, 2007). "Virtue Ethics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved 2010-06-05. "But although modern virtue ethics does not have to take the form known as "neo-Aristotelian", almost any modern version still shows that its roots are in ancient Greek philosophy by the employment of three concepts derived from it. These are areté (excellence or virtue) phronesis (practical or moral wisdom) and eudaimonia (usually translated as happiness or flourishing.) As modern virtue ethics has grown and more people have become familiar with its literature, the understanding of these terms has increased, but it is still the case that readers familiar only with modern philosophy tend to misinterpret them."

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