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What are the most significant differences between Plato and Aristotle on the notion of "how should human life be lived"? Plato, Gorgias, 482-4, 488-500 and Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I 1094a- 1103a

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The object of ethics is the distinction between good and evil. According to Plato, there is an absolute good which belongs to the transcendental realm of Forms, whereas Aristotle thinks that good is exclusively immanent to the world we live in and relative to the practical actions of men.

Plato believes that, in order to be able to contemplate the supreme good, men must live in justice. Hedonism—namely the search for pleasure as an end in itself—can instead lead to unhappiness when the means to achieve it are unjust deeds such as the use of power against others. The pursuit of knowledge is the key to living a happy life. Knowledge will help men understand what is just. Hence, a happy life is a just life based on knowledge. In Gorgias Plato develops an idea of how human life should be lived by basing his discussion on justice, which is dealt with more extensively in a later dialogue, namely Plato’s Republic (in particular: Book 1).

Aristotle’s moral philosophy places happiness at the center...

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