In book one of the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle talks about the how goods created and desired by people are all different and he believes that there is a “chief good.” Aristotle eventually gets to writing that the ends to all of the goods, is happiness. According to the Aristotle, different people have different understandings of what brings happiness, for example, vulgar men believe pleasure brings happiness, other believe honor, and some even believe wealth brings happiness. He later elaborates that happiness can be the superior good because it is exclusively chosen for itself, and never for the sake of something else.
Even before the statement that Aristotle made about choosing happiness for itself and nothing else, I agreed with the idea that happiness is the most desirable good. I was easy to agree with and seemed to make sense without me giving it much thought. After understanding the reasoning behind why this is the case in Aristotle’s opinion, it made more sense. Almost every action I have taken in my life has been working toward being happy either immediately or later in life. I have worked through hard times at school exclusively so that I may be happier in my future employment, whether it be the job that makes my life happier, or the increased earning potential, or more likely both.
In the second book, Aristotle explains his opinions on virtues and vices. A line in the beginning of this book explained how habits and acts determine a person’s ability to hold to a certain virtue. I found this to be very relatable to Franklin’s method of improving himself by recording his faults and making a conscious effort to act according to his own virtues. Franklin was following this idea in a sense.