On the Best Life
Keywords: Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Good Life
AbstractIn order to find a thorough treatment of the good life, arguably the subject of political science, we must have recourse to the ancients. Aristotle directly addresses and thematizes the concept of “the good life” in his Nicomachean Ethics, wherein it is suggested that the best possible life for a human being is one that is lived in accordance with a human being’s natural function, that is, logos. This paper implements Aristotle’s definition of the good life in order to suggest that it presents us with not merely a viable but a superior alternative to the relativistic language of “lifestyles” and “values” that dominates contemporary political theory. This paper will first establish a framework within which the best life for a human being may be understood, then proceed to explain the inadequacy of relativism as a way of conceiving of the best life and the relationship between the best life and the best person. The argument will conclude by making a case for the importance of the best life as a topic worthy of pursuit in both theory and practice.
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