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Aristotle v. Plato

The term "the good life" is used by both Aristotle and Plato to describe both an internal as well as an external state of living for a given individual or segment of the population (the state).While the two philosophers have some similarities in their definitions, they differ a great deal when it comes to their explanation of how to live in accordance with "the good life".These similarities and differences can be examined by exploring the philosophy and thought that each of the two men taught.Also, one must take into account the time period in which each philosopher lived when comparing their thoughts and ideas.In the following I will attempt to sort out, in my own view, each man's ideas on "the good life" and how it may be achieved.
Aristotle went to Athens early in his life and studied under Plato (who shared many Socratic views), but after Plato died Aristotle left Athens only to return some years later and found the Lyceum.Here he taught his ideas of logic and realist views, from which we get his idea of "the good life" or "eudaimonia".Aristotle differed greatly from his teacher's view of how life should be in that he believed people should work toward a livable community rather than Plato's ideal community.This livable community is independent and self-sufficient to the point that all individuals among the community have roles to play and seek to perform in these roles to their potential.It is this "virtuous fulfillment of potential" that he terms areté.The idea of areté combined with autarkeia (self-sufficiency) is absolutely necessary in achieving Aristotle's idea of eudaimonia.It is in this state that we will find harmony and balance with ourselves and the world around us.He is also known as the "father of logic" due in some part to the use of reason in his teachings, and this use of reason was in ord…

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