How does Aristotle define happiness? Explain each part of that definition.
Happiness, a state we all pursue, is the full realization of our rationality . .
In order to be happy, to reach a self-sufficient, attainable, and final end, we should aim at the good . Aristotle starts out with the assumption that every action and pursuit aims at the good. We should desire the chief good, since wealth, honor, pleasure and the common good are feelings of happiness that can easily be taken away. .
Aristotle says that we must first understand that "happiness is an activity of soul in accordance with perfect virtue" (Denise, 35). There are three parts of the soul: the rational (reasoning only present in humans), the irrational (growth and development present in all living things), and the irrational that is controlled by the rational (present in all animals). We must reason in accordance with the best state of our virtue to fulfill our desires. This highest state is the mean between two vices, which is relative to each individual. For example, the mean between eating too little and overeating is eating until you are satisfied. These virtues are divided into two categories: moral, which correspond to the rational ruling over the irrational part of the soul, and intellectual, which correspond to the rational section. The former is the state of undergoing a passion by habit and controlling it by reason and the latter is the state of contemplating the truths and principles of reason that accompany our behavior. .
Contemplation leads to the highest human happiness. Fulfilling our function as human beings will enable us to achieve this state. As Aristotle points out, human's function is to understand. He says, " that which is proper to each thing is by nature best and most pleasant for each thing; for man, therefore, the life according to reason is best and pleasantest, since reason more than anything else is man.