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Analysis of the Argument of Function in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics (Essay Sample)


Paper topic: Aristotle, the function argument in Nicomachean Ethics I 7.1097b22-a20 You are to take an argument from Nicomachean Ethics and give a full analysis. What is this argument? Is it a good argument? What objections might one raise against it? What role does it play in the philosophical theories of the author of the argument? I do not care whether you agree or disagree with the conclusion. Our concern is with the argument. More precisely, your job is to identify what things are merely asserted and what are argued for. Then you must analyze what the argument is. Next, you need to identify difficulties in the argument. Is it sound, or are some of the premises false or the argument invalid? If so where precisely does it go wrong? If you think it valid, what serious objections might you raise against the argument, and how do you defend the argument against those objections. If the argument is part of a larger discussion, you need to explain how it contributes to the larger discussion. In discussing the argument stick very closely to the text. Make sure you show that each claim, for example, that you attribute to Aristotle is actually a claim of Aristotle by showing where in the text the claim is made or even by quoting the claim (with a reference to the text). Be sure to answer the entire question. Your paper should be clearly written, well organized, and grammatical with correct spelling.


Analysis of the Argument of Function in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics
The purpose of the function argument by Aristotle is to establish the function of the human being. Besides, the role of the argument in what Aristotle was investigating is identification of the true human good. In essence, true human good helps people to live happy lives (Aristotle, 1097b20). Aristotle applies rationality as the foundation for his arguments, asserting that rationality is a unique characteristic of humans as no other living things can behave or think as per the principles of reason. Thus, no other living organisms can live to the same level and be as happy and fulfill function as humans can. It is important to comprehend the concept of function with regards to how it is applied to human life because apart from it human beings would not comprehend how it is lined to their virtues and human good. Such greatest achievable human good is what Aristotle refers to as eudaimonia. Aristotle believes that all people agree that well-being or happiness is the greatest good (Aristotle, 1097b20). There are, however, numerous myths concerning what happiness eudaimonia is. In order for him to solve this matter and explain eudaimonia more clearly, Aristotle attempts to establish the function of the human hence his function argument.
Aristotle begins speaking about function when attempting to find out what happiness is. At this juncture, happiness is the name for that thing which human beings choose for its sake not for the sake of any other thing, but humans do not yet know what that thing consists in. In simpler words, people understand that happiness is the greatest good of their life, but they do not understand what it is as yet. Since Aristotle realized this dilemma, he starts by saying that to understand happiness, one must first establish the function of the human (Aristotle, 1097b25). He went on to give examples of things that have functions such as a flute for its player and a sculptor for the one who designs it. In other words, he recognized that everything has its function and the good of that thing is thought to be inherent in its function. In the same way, man must also have a function (Aristotle, 1097b20). In this assertion, Aristotle suggests that if people could make a determination of the function of man, then it would be easy to work out from that point what human happiness means. This idea arises from the fact that the chief good of man is happiness and now that the goodness of any thing is inherent in its function, clarifying what function is would make it easy to understand the function of man. Aristotle explains this by stating:
“Then do the carpenter and the leather worker have their functions and actions, but has a human being no function? Is he by nature idle without any function? Or, just as eye, hand, foot, and, in general, every [bodily] part apparently has its function, may we likewise ascribe to a human being some function apart from all of these” (Aristotle, 1097b30).
Aristotle points out that one way of thinking about the function of a thing is establishing why it does whatever it does, its use or purpose. The issue of use or purpose is, perhaps, the first thing that comes into the mind of a reader who comes across Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics. More particularly, Aristotle states that

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