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PHILOSOPHY – History: Aristotle on the Purpose of Life [HD]

PHILOSOPHY – History: Aristotle on the Purpose of Life [HD]


(intro music) Hi, my name is Monte Johnson. I’m a professor at the University[br]of California, San Diego, and today I want to talk about[br]the purpose of human life, Aristotle’s Ergon Argument. The word “ergon” in Greek means “work,” or “job,” or[br]”product,” or “function.” The term is most clearly used[br]in the context of artifacts or skills. So the ergon of a saw is to cut. The ergon of a house is[br]to protect against weather and intruders. And the argon of an[br]architect is to build houses. A connected term is “arete,” which means “excellence” or “virtue.” The excellence of a saw is sharpness, since its function is to cut. The excellence of a house[br]is stability and security, since its function is protection. And the excellence of an architect is the[br]building of good houses. Do human beings have[br]an ergon, or a function? And if so, do they also have a corresponding[br]arete, or excellence? Aristotle argues that they do, And his argument can help[br]us think more clearly about the purpose of human life. But before we can discuss[br]the ergon argument itself we need to discuss some[br]background assumptions about the nature of life. Aristotle recognizes four[br]distinct classes of living things: plants, animals, humans, and Gods. And we’ll set Gods[br]aside for a moment here. Aristotle defines living things by their capabilities. Plants have the ability to grow, use energy, and reproduce. When we talk about a[br]plant doing well or poorly, we refer to these capabilities. Thus, when a plant is growing properly, deepening its roots, throwing out leaves and flowers and shoots, and fructifying, we say that it is flourishing. The opposite happens when a[br]plant’s capabilities are stymied, when a tree, for instance, is stunted, or leaves are withering[br]and dying on the vine. Botanists and gardeners know what is good or bad for plants, that is, what kinds of things help and what kinds of things[br]hurt the activities related to their capabilities. Notice that it is not a matter of opinion, but of scientific fact, what is good and bad for[br]plants in this respect. Different plants might require[br]different kinds of nutrients or different amounts of shade and water. But every plant is said[br]to do well or poorly on the objective basis of the activities related to[br]its specific capabilities. Animals, in a way, are like[br]superpowered plants. They too have the ability to grow, use nutrition, and reproduce. These things are just[br]as objectively important for animals as they are for plants, as veterinarians and[br]zoologists can tell you. But animals also have other[br]and higher capabilities. For example animals, unlike plants, can move themselves around in space. Animals that cannot do so, whether because of a birth[br]defect or because they’re encaged, cannot be said to be doing well. This is why animal rights activists campaign for larger cages[br]or free ranges for animals, because it’s obvious that[br]it is better for the animals if they are capable of exercising their capacity[br]for self-movement fully. Most importantly, animals have the capability of perception. They can feel hot and cold, smell, taste, hear, and see. And some of them can[br]do all of these things. Animals that are incapable of seeing, even though members of[br]their species are normally able to do so, are thought not to be doing as well as their relatives that can. With the ability to sense comes the ability to[br]feel pain and pleasure, and thus appetite and aversion. These capabilities are connected with an animal’s capability for self-movement, since they pursue that which they have an appetite for and avoid things that might interfere with[br]their natural activities. Now an animal cannot do[br]well if it is deficient with respect to its plant-like[br]or vegetative capabilities. But even if it is fine with[br]respect to those capabilities, it cannot be said to[br]flourish if it is stymied with respect to[br]self-movement and sensation. For example, if an animal is in a lot of pain or is unable to satisfy[br]its desire for food because of injury to[br]its organs of movement, that animal will not be said to do well. For an animal to flourish, it needs to be able to move around and to sense the world in such a way that produces, for it, pleasure or at least more pleasure than pain. Now let’s move on to humans. It’s often pointed out[br]that humans are animals, animals with superpowers. But it is less often pointed out that we are plants too. That is, we, like other animals, have the capabilities of plants: growth, nutrition, and reproduction. And we need to exercise these capabilities if we are to live. And like the other animals, we have the capabilities for[br]self-movement and sensation. And with these, pleasure and pain, appetite and aversion. All life is deeply connected in this way. But humans also have unique capabilities that no other animals have, most importantly the ability[br]to reason and to use language. These capabilities allow[br]us to cultivate friendships and social relations, build and contribute to[br]political structures, plan for the future, modify our appetites and desires, educate our young, develop music and mathematics, and even to contemplate[br]the nature of the universe and the purpose of human life. If a human does not[br]have these capabilities, they are missing out on part[br]of what it is to be human. And if they also lack even[br]the animal capabilities we might consider them[br]less than animal, at least while they’re in what we, for these very reasons, call a “persistent vegetative state.” Thus, we can determine what is good for us in a parallel fashion to how we determine what is good with respect to the other kinds of living things. Those things that allow us[br]to engage in the activities that exercise our capacities are good, and those that impede[br]or prevent this are bad. Now that we have that background in place, we should be in a good position to answer “What, for Aristotle, “is the ergon of a human being?” It would be odd if the[br]purpose of human life was related to our lowest[br]vegetative capabilities, unless we aspire to being a good plant. Thus, the exercise of our[br]capabilities for reproduction, growth and stature, and even nutrition, however important for us, cannot be the ultimate purpose of our life any more than it could[br]be for a brute animal. Similarly, mere sensation, pleasure, and satisfaction of our bodily appetites cannot, as they are for brute animals, be the purpose of our life. What makes cows and pigs flourish can no more make a human flourish than what makes oaks and vine flourish can do so for cows and pigs. Even if those lower[br]vegetative capabilities must be in a satisfactory condition in order for the higher[br]ones to do their work. Thus, by a process of elimination, we arrive at the capabilities[br]to use reason and language. These are the capabilities that define us, which is why Aristotle[br]defined the human being as a rational animal, which is reflected in the[br]modern name for our species, “Homo sapiens.” Thus, the forming of friendships[br]and social relations, the controlling of our[br]appetites and emotions, the cultivation of moral[br]and intellectual virtues, and the observing of the cosmos and our place in it are the activities that, because they correspond with our highest and most unique capabilities, give meaning to human life and represent the flourishing[br]of our kind of living thing. The things that are good for us follow from this, and thus can be determined with the same degree of[br]objectivity that gardeners and botanists can for plants, and veterinarians and[br]zoologists can for animals. These arts and sciences[br]can objectively determine what is good and bad for[br]those kind of living things, and so anthropology and[br]philosophy can determine what is good and bad for[br]our kind of living thing. In fact, the very highest activity, the one that Aristotle calls godlike, is philosophy, because this involves the pure exercise of reason and thought, just as the Gods constantly engage in, according to Aristotle. And philosophy engages[br]in reason and thought not only in order to serve our[br]vegetative and animal needs, but just for its own sake as well, for the sake of living a human life. For this reason, Aristotle[br]thought that doing philosophy was the ultimate end of human existence. In conclusion, you should be happy that[br]you’re watching this video, because I have just shown[br]how you are now engaging in the exercise of your highest and most godlike capabilities. Good work. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

22 thoughts on “PHILOSOPHY – History: Aristotle on the Purpose of Life [HD]”

  1. Bees are more than human in building their beehives, no computers but builds perfect size…
    Termites build thousands of storeys buildings underneath the earth surface and have golden color palaces inside, with the Queen as their leader…
    humans can't do that, but just keep on fighting one another…
    Nature has perfect engineering but human beings are just copying it with flaws in modifications…
    We are here to learn from them, from all around, don't think that we are more than them, instead think that they are more worthy than us to live on this planet!
    Their technologies are harmless whereas our technologies disrupt and destroy Nature itself!
    What good does we humans have contributed to the Planet and to the universe?
    Is there anything?
    Not yet, only destroying and trying to repair what we have done!
    we are far behind from the radar system of insects which is built in within them, ours is outside!
    They can tour around the world using their own inside capabilities!
    they have good leadership structures!
    Humanity is really a failure if it will not repent, better to use "it", because animals are much more worthy!

    Genesis 6:6Β 
    Then the LORD regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and he was deeply grieved about that!

    How shameful!

  2. Purpose of life is to earn your freedom and enjoy to your heart's content for ever. Creations before us learned that they will get their divine rulers when they stop worshipping ones of their own kind because it is when the divine rulers get their divine powers. The latest successful gladiators were jinns. Now it is our time.

  3. There must be something more after death why is there people on a planet living and what do we do. Is there another life of death what’s to come in the future will we are die due to lack of harmony and humanity because god wiped us out before and he could go it again but who is to say he is even real

  4. Hmm so philosophy is the ultimate meaning. It feels like a lot of that was just manifestations of contiousnes. I still hope there is a bigger meaning or maby a more clear structure of truths or like a guide on how to be virtuous. We (hopefully) can achieve this by pursuing the wonder called philosophy.

    Hope someone can tell me something Interesting

  5. While it seems that the purpose of human life is to serve the souls as their subjugated slaves, what is the purpose of life of a soul? πŸ€”
    I mean, seemingly, we eat for our soul, we work for our soul, we sleep for our soul, etc.
    Would't it make a soul too much lazy?
    They may have become dumber because of us. So much so that they now depend on our memory.
    May be the souls have lost clue of their own individual identity. Time is a factor. Technological advances are targeted towards making life easier right?
    Do we have easy lives in technologically advanced countries? I mean, the life quality is relatively better but is it any easier?
    Basic needs are still the same. Breathing, eating/drinking, sleeping, toilet.
    Is speech a basic need? May be not; at least for a cast away.
    All other functions are associated with the basic human needs. It is evident that these basic needs are the boundary conditions fir many animals.
    Do bacteria sleep?
    If not then we have a special guest here. πŸ€”
    The nos.7, 8 & 9 in Thothmaths would mean three souls that do not incarnate in human bodies otherwise they would become nos. 2 and/or 3 i.e. women or men.
    The question is the order of stuff from 1 to 9.
    If 1 is supreme then 9 is the least powerful of souls. If 2 is supreme then 8 is the least powerful of feminines and if 3 is supreme then 7 is the least powerful of men.
    A single person is least powerful in a group comprising entirely of opposite gender.
    Does it make any sense?
    I mean, we need to find a purpose for our souls now otherwise they will keep on riding us. πŸ€”
    Let's give them one of the same purposes that they gave us.
    Which one is it? 😁
    All of them purposes?
    May be souls need to taste death at least once. Maybe 7 to 9 are the pussies who haven't. 😜
    God of abdulism wanted jesus to taste death. He did it already. 😁
    The god of abdulism and the satan of abdulism both need to taste death now.
    The 7 & 8 are the so called divines (8 is masculine soul) that we think of as lovers. Well, they have a love if different kind I guess. Father and daughter love. Tough love perhaps.
    The copycat god (allah) wants to be known as the daughter of god now. But for this to happen, satan has to become a god. The holy men of the past made it clear that satan is exactly the opposite of god.😝
    Big problem.
    I guess that allah will not become famous by the crucifixion of desi male Messiah. πŸ€”
    It must be an anti-jesus woman or something. Or she might be anti-vishnu.
    Are we going to nail a girl on the cross now?
    Abduls will nail anything that blasphemes against muhammad; may be they would behead a TV for that matter. However, they don't do it for allah. Allah is a smart bitch. Allah told abduls to die for her instead. πŸ˜‘
    Atta boys.
    What is muhammad without allah hmm and vice versa?
    Messiah is not Muhammad. Messiah is not Jesus.
    Messiah is not John the baptist.
    Messiah is Asif.
    Messiah is nobody's mirror, nobodyvs reaction, nobody's love back robot and nobody's answering machine.
    Messiah is an employee of an engineering consulting firm.
    Hallelujah. 😎
    Islamic god is not other the daughter but also an employee of bible's god yahweh. Both are assholes.
    Messiah calls any of the souls of the dead when he needs explanations. πŸ€“ the three independent souls (7, 8 & 9) are no exceptions.
    7 just doesn't want to be free anymore. 8 doesn't want to show up anymore, while 9 seems to be not interested in tasting death again. 😝
    Messiah will have to kill 7 and 8. 😎 for the sake of humanity
    Nothing personal now; seriously. 😁
    Imo, once humans get rid of souls, we may then have to find some kind of soul repellent. Smell of shitt/farts does not repel souls I guess.
    A man slaughter repels souls.
    Armageddon is very easy to justify at any given time ya. πŸ™„
    Don't you like the arab jesus?
    I mean, he has a fucken beard. 😜 He is already a prince, for olive oil's sake.
    Please discard previous shitt of Messiah and consider researching on a soul. Every one has one I hope.
    So far we know that it is white and it can be black as well. That should cover the entire range of color spectrum.
    May be in future our kids could become pink, purple, green, blue, etc. πŸ€”

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