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Aristotle

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Before actually focusing on the main details of Aristotle's argument, we should pay careful attention to the opening explanation he makes in Book I about the nature of his inquiry. The first important point that he stresses is that the study of the character of human beings is dependent on what a human being is. Aristotle states that a human is not a person that lives in isolation, but someone who also lives with parents, children, wife, friends, and citizens since man is by nature a social and political being. Humans, in other words, obtain their identity and their morality from their participation in their community, from the interaction with their parents, friends, customs, institutions and laws. Because of this, every ethical question must be determined by taking into account the necessary and political basis of human life. If one is to discuss what it is that makes a man good, we have to really consider which decisions will benefit or make the society good. Although Aristotle sees the "individual" as a part of a larger whole, he believes that the purpose of each individual's life is evaluated in relation to the other members of the community.

Although different communities live by different rules and strive for different goods, it is possible to reach an understanding of what moral excellence is in any community by studying what it is that makes up effective community membership.

Another important observation made by Aristotle is the fact that to study human ethics, we must focus on the world around us. We must focus on the traditions of our community, the accepted theories of earlier philosophers, especially those most famous for their wisdom. These theories we must study, not to only find inconsistencies in them, but to try to discover what it is they have in common and how they can affect our understanding of what the best way to live is. Aristotle also highlights the fact that everything we learn from the observations we make will be nothing more than an estimated approach for dealing with ethical questions. Ethics is not an exact science.

One last introductory point is that this approach is intended only for those who already have some sense of virtue instilled in them. To understand some of the principles of moral conduct requires some existing sense of virtue.

Aristotle then proceeds to explain that all human activities have a specific goal or end to them. Although not much proof is given to back this up, it is essential to his argument because it infers that the nature of goodness is linked to some final destination. The excellence of humans is linked to their growth towards to some realization of his best nature.

Once he has established the notion that all human activities are directed by some

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