- According to Aristotle, happiness consists of living a life of virtue and contemplation, and it is achieved by engaging in activities that are in line with one’s nature and pursuing the highest good. Aristotle distinguishes between primary and secondary good. Aristotle defines primary goods as goods pursued solely for themselves, and not to achieve a goal. Secondary goods are pursued in order to obtain other goods. Some examples of primary goods are wisdom, friendship and pleasure. Wealth and fame, however, can be considered secondary goods. Aristotle argues that primary goods are necessary for happiness because they are intrinsically valuable and can bring pleasure and fulfillment to a person’s life.
Aristotle’s view of primary goods is accurate, because I think they give a greater sense of meaning and satisfaction to the life than secondary ones. While pursuing wealth and fame can bring temporary satisfaction, it does not provide a lasting source of happiness. Building and maintaining close relationships with family and friends, and seeking wisdom and personal development can help you live a fulfilling life.
Plato argues in The Myth of Gyges that, if someone had unlimited freedom to act as they please without any consequences, then they wouldn’t be virtuous. This implication is inconsistent with Aristotle’s thoughts on happiness because Aristotle believes that virtuous actions are necessary for happiness. In order to be happy, a person must not act in an immoral manner. Therefore, I believe that Aristotle’s view on happiness is more convincing because it emphasizes the importance of living a virtuous life and pursuing things that have intrinsic value.
- John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty argues that freedom of expression is necessary for a flourishing society because it allows individuals to share their opinions and ideas freely, which in turn leads to the exchange of ideas and the progress of knowledge. Mill argues that suppressing someone’s opinion is wrong even if that opinion is false because it is only through the free exchange of ideas that the truth can be discovered. Plato’s Ship of Fools implies that freedom of expression can lead to chaos and that some people are not fit to participate in public discourse. Ship of Fools allegory represents a culture where anyone can voice an opinion regardless of expertise or knowledge. This leads to the Ship of Fools crashing and everyone drowning.
While I think we should have the freedom to say what we want, we must also use words that are respectful of others. There is the risk that certain people could abuse the right to free expression. However, I feel that the positives of having a society that’s open and free outweighs the negatives. To ensure free speech is being used responsibly, education is key. It is also important to encourage people to critically evaluate their own views and the opinions of others.
- The Trolley Problem presents a choice between saving many by harming one person, or staying out of the situation. A consequentialist would say that saving many people would be best because this would lead to the greatest benefit for the largest number of individuals. Deontologically, it is wrong to harm one person even though it will save others because this would violate the principle that you should not use other people as means for your own ends.