Flourishing and Eudaimonia
In his work on the science of happiness, Aristotle came up with the concept of Eudaimonia, which can simply be described as happiness (Boss, 2011). Basically, the concept argues that one’s happiness is not an outcome but rather a process of fulfilling a person’s true nature; this can be done by achieving all virtuous aptitudes and living the way one was naturally intended to live. Suppose I am a ninety-nine-year-old individual reflecting on my life; several moments would make me happy at that moment. First, these include moments when I was really happy with those I cared about and created good memories with them. For example, going on an impromptu road trip with my friends that turned out to be the best road trip ever, falling in love, marrying the love of my life, raising my children, and seeing my siblings and friends also fall in love and live their lives happily. I would also be happy knowing that I accomplished all that I set out to do, but if I did not, I would be at peace knowing that I gave it my all, and even if it did not work out, I tried, and that’s all that matters.
Some of the things that I would use to determine if my life flourished as a 99-year-old would mostly be based on how I treated other people. As much as accomplishments like wealth are nice, knowing people felt cared for, seen, and heard, among other kind gestures, in addition to knowing that they mostly had good memories with me, is amazing and would be a good sign of a flourished life. In my reflection on my life, I would apply a deontological moral theory, which emphasizes one’s intentions to act rather than the consequences of actions (Boss, 2011). Knowing that I am human and bound to make many mistakes, what matters is that I have only pure intentions, and even though this may not always work out, there is a chance for rectifying them.
Boss, J. A. (2011). Ethics for life: A text with readings.
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In this module’s learning, you were introduced to Aristotle’s idea of eudaimonia, which emphasizes happiness and flourishing.
Imagine that you are 99 years old and looking back on your life. What do you think are the moments or actions that made you happiest? How would you determine whether your life was one that flourished? What role might virtue play in how you reflect?