“The Good” in life, as defined first by the ancient Greeks, is the final or ultimate end at which our actions aim. It’s the answer to the question of why you do what you do. For Epicurus, as we’ve seen, it was pleasure, though his explanation is much more complicated than might first come to mind. One is successful when this end is accomplished (adding perhaps the qualification “to the highest degree possible” or “to a reasonable degree”).
Another description is one’s “philosophy of life.” Typically when someone asks the question “What’s your philosophy of life?” I suspect the questioner himself doesn’t quite understand what he is asking. The question might mean “What sense do you make of the way the world is?” or “What’s the purpose of it all?” or “How do you deal with the tribulations of life?” or “Why have you chosen to live in the way you do?” The last interpretation is another way of asking “What’s the Good in life?”
As I wrote in the introduction to this Unit, unless one knows where one is aiming (and perhaps why one is aiming that way at all) it’s very unlikely that one will happen to hit the mark.
Your assignment is to write about what “the Good” will be in your life.
- What is the end or goal that is the guiding principle that determines why you act as you do?
- Once you have a preliminary answer, ask yourself what problems there might be with your answer. For example, suppose you choose “wealth” as your goal. I imagine few people truly hold wealth as the final goal. Instead, they want certain goods that wealth usually brings: security, prestige, comfort, and so forth.
Your essay should be a minimum of 8 pages of content (do not count the title page or reference pages) using APA format. It should include appropriate references to all the required readings for this course (Affluenza, The Consolations of Philosophy and Tolstoy’s Confession) and may also include references from other relevant readings as well.
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