In the Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle's view is that happiness consists only of living virtuously. Do you agree? Do most of us just have it wrong about what happiness and the happy life really is?

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As the previous answer suggests, Aristotle's definition of virtue is somewhat different from how many people may view it today. Aristotle thought that virtue consisted of avoiding excesses and extremes. In the Nicomachean Ethics , he described a number of virtuous traits in exactly these terms. Courage, for example, was the mean between the extremes of cowardice and recklessness. One should strive for temperance, which was somewhere in the middle of overindulgence and what he called "insensibility." Aristotle, in short, believed in balance, which, on the face of it, seems a sensible way to live one's life. There is no doubt that some modern faiths, Christianity in particular, emphasize asceticism, or self-denial, to one degree or another. However, it is also true that modern capitalism, with its emphasis on consumerism and self-gratification as a means to happiness, is an even more pervasive aspect of modern life. Neither of these extremes—it seems to me—are likely to make the average...

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