Aristotle’s View of Life
Aristotle’s view of life is a teleological one, meaning that it has a goal. All things have goals, he says. For example, the goal, and therefore the purpose of an acorn, is to become an oak tree. The goal of a tadpole is to become a frog. Since we know that as a materialist Aristotle did not believe in an afterlife as a goal, what can be said about the goal or purpose of human life? Aristotle’s answer to this question is a refreshing change from Plato who believed our goal is that our psyches travel to the world of Forms and discover absolute truth and goodness, and to the Sophists who focused on material success and wealth as our ultimate purpose.
Aristotle’s answer is connected to his idea of causality and to an understanding of the function of a thing. To explain Aristotle’s conception of the purpose of human life, review the chapter discussions on the four causes and on the purpose of nature. Explain the four causes, and explain how our nature is tied to our function and purpose to reach the mature state of humanness. What is your view? Does his answer satisfy you?
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