WhyAristotle is not a relativist
Some“philosophers” argue that Aristotle`s ethics are "situational".Aristotle acknowledges as true that the particulars are vital indirecting activity suchthata universal is seldom adequate to direct an activity. Most actionsor conclusions pursue amethodof assessing exact places utilizing universals, and the ethical worthof activity enumerations on a position. Aristotle asserts that"action is about particulars ”, thus understanding, or "astate…concerned with action about humangoods”,are not "only about universals.” In another part ofAristotle`s text, he explains that having a virtuous trait involvesacquiring the right sentiments at the right times, about the rightthings, the right persons, for the right end, and in the right way(Aristotle 1). Apart from the last two constituents, the othercomponents are situational constituents. They claim that the kind offeeling one have depends on time, object of anxiety, and individual`spresent. In addition, Aristotle gives an example to illustrate how aplace influences “human goodness”. He claims that giving acertain allowance of food could be satisfactory to one personhowever, there is either possibility that the same amount is too muchor little for another person (Aristotle 1). On the other hand, somephilosophers claim that Aristotle`s ethics are relativist. In thisterm paper, I will contend that Aristotle`s ethics is not relativistfor several reasons. He outlines abundant supportive information thatis divided by headings.
Supposerelativist ethics is one that does not have predefined directions foractivitydirection,it is quite clear that Aristotle`s ethics is not relativist.Aristotle was mainly worried about justifying undertakings orfeelings that could have either surplus or deficient goodness, andtherefore admits that having a mean, which he approves as factuallygood. The idea ofchoosingan intermediate actually points out an influential way fordecision-making, thus it hasa specialmain heading for activities to span. An objection to this argumentcould be thatsuchmain headings are not clearly adequate to resolutely directundertakings. In addition, one can stillmakeup his or her mind the way he or she likes in given places. Since,such objections ignore the minutia that Aristotle is additionallyaware of some actions and sentiments that are outrightly undesirablehence, they cannot have an excess or deficiency such as adultery andenvy. Aristotle believes that such foundational actions and feelingsare habitually awful and unacceptable in all societies.
Inaddition, Aristotle has set forward resolute directions for givenactivities, thus his situational ethical design is inconsistent. Thisobjection has two drawbacks. First, if Aristotle always support thatsituational ethics is irrelevant, he cannot have relativist ethics.Second, having undertakings and sentiments that have ethicalstandards unaligned of situations in Aristotle`s ethical design isAristotle`s acknowledgement of exclusions to his main headings. Suchacknowledgement matches with his idea of portraying the contents asbeing more realistic than the universals. Additionally, the actionsand feelings neither signifies the awful (bad actions) ones or areintermediates (the good ones). Nevertheless, the actions are not realexceptions to the rules of deduction. Aristotle is likely suggestingthat these undertakings and sentiments do not require being assessedas others do because they are not legitimate inputs to his way ofevaluation (Aristotle 1107a).
Incase one is still not sure, and suggests that the very minutia thatsome ofAristotle`saction-guiding standards are dependent on place makes his ethicalsystem to a certain extentrelativist.I would argue that such a notion is not vitally relativist because ofAristotle`s concernofpurposes. In relativist ethics, the ethical measures of actions aresolely dependent on agencies while in Aristotle`s ethics, allagencies (at least most individuals) share a prevalentcompletereason – to complete joyousness, all undertakings are oriented aroundmakinghappinessand not solely restricted on the agency (Aristotle 1097b). In detail,Aristotle’s directionscontainsome elements that some individuals might accept as true, and to betheir entire reason, suchashonor, delight, understanding (Aristotle 1097b). If Aristotle`sethical design is a relativistone,then he would not object what others might accept as factual as theirwhole purpose.
Incontradiction with this idea, one may contend that the idea ofjoyousness is too vague, to be the onethingthat is common among everyone. In other words, by having distinctconceptions ofhappiness,one should exclusively depend on agency and not any predefineddirections.Again,this contention is wrong by showing that Aristotle is ruling outcertain things such as happiness. On the contrary, certain thingssuch as honor could furthermore be an entire cause, since one couldtakeesteem as the beginning of happiness. Thus, Aristotle has set mainclasses for whatcouldbe joyfulness, and the agency could not without coercion describe hisown happiness if he wastofollow Aristotle`s ethics.
Lastly,Aristotle`s ethics prevents various persons from attaining happiness,and thus, toagiven extent, his ethics counts on one-by-one. I suggest that theminutia of what Aristotle explains onthistheme completely goes against relativism. Through asserting thatindividuals deprived of good birth, healthy young children, beautyand certain "externals" cannot have happiness Aristotlemakes hisethicselitist. Such ideas completely goes against relativism ethics in thatthey acknowledge as true that certain external position would depriveone from becoming good or gaining perfection. IfAristotlewere a relativist, he would focus the good counts directly because ofthe straightforward interior convictions rather than externalposition. Based on the aforementioned reasons, I am convinced thatfor a relativist, the external position may pattern an individual`sinternal convictions and thus directly influence state of goodness.However, it does not determine whether a person will be good forever.
Insummary, the research has discussed three likely positions one cantake in trying tocontendthat Aristotle`s ethics is relativist. Besides, the research has alsodepicted the difficulties in these stances. The evidence proves thatAristotle`s ethics is not relativist because he does give predefineddirectionsabout what could be good when one is making a decision. Besides, theresearch also proves the belief that deprivation of externals cansway one`s skill to become good. This implies that an individualexperiencing “external deprivation” cannot achieve “perfection”in their state irrespective of their beliefs.
Aristotle.“Nicomachean Ethics Book I.” Web. 2010. Viewed from <http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.1.i.html>
Aristotle.““Nicomachean Ethics Book II.” Web. 2011. Viewed from <http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.2.ii.html>