Alan Pardo Jamie Lombardi Intro to Philosophy 17 October 2017 Aristotelianism and StoicismThe two ancient Western philosophical responses, Aristotelianism and Stoicism, aim for how to live good life and what to strive for in it. People question what is a good life and what can we do in order to achieve this fulfillment of  happiness with ourselves. Eudaimonia is the desire goal for the ancient responses, but despite the goal being the same, they approach it in distinctive ways. The idea of eudaimonia or happiness, does not mean a life without problems and issues, but a life that overcomes difficulties, strives from them, and exceeds limits you never expected. We choice to give meaning to the things we do, so when we strive for the things we enjoy we will find happiness within them. Aristotelianism had a different route and was more of a practice based and finding a balance between things. They wanted a person who can always know what to say, confident without being arrogant, or brave but not reckless. Unlike how stoicism tells the individual what to do and how to live life,  Aristotelianism relied heavily on virtue theory. “Virtue is a state of character concerned with choice, being determined by rational principle as determined by the moderate man of practical wisdom”(Nicomachean Ethics) ,the theory revolved around individual’s character. They stressed that virtue comes with the proper exercise of reason and if individuals focus on themselves, then the right actions will follow. If we start to create habits and repeat acts of virtuousness, then eudaimonia will come along with it. For the simple reason that everything has a purpose in life which means men has too. We must find this purpose by challenging life and overcoming bumps on our journey. Aristotle urged nature has a huge impact on us because the desire to be virtuous is already stored inside of us. Virtue is simply just a mean of understanding when does good become bad. Knowing the right balance can help the individual analyze situations and know how to control yourself while being able to handle other people’s actions. Excess and deficiency is the only thing that will destroy virtue and finding the between of two vices will give you the golden mean. Not every situation will have the same golden mean which makes it difficult, but Aristotle stressed that life will become easier as you learn through experience and develop practical wisdom. Experiences and the constant act of trying to be a good person will slowly just become a part of your character. Learning how to use the golden mean will help you overcome difficulties in life and finding happiness within the struggles.Stoicism did aim for the same goal but it was more of theoretical approach on how to live a good life and instead of practicing it through experience. One must just accept things for what they are. One major difference between the two philosophical responses is that you have to be completely devoted into stoicism and there is no between. Unlike how aristotelianism was primarily focus on habits, Stoicism argued that our judgements prevent us from eudaimonia. The emotions and thoughts that are created by our judgement create invisible locks on your mind that prevent us to be free. The event itself has no more influence after it occurs but the judgement of the event is what affects what we do next. One major key component is learning how to blame yourself and taking full responsibility to everything one does.”What will be will be don’t wish for things to happen as you would like them rather welcome whatever happens,” one must learn how to let go of things you can’t control, instead focusing on the things you can control, and most importantly our feelings towards things. For example, failing a midterm exam will produce negative feelings, but learning to put the feelings aside and knowing you have the control of studying and putting more effort into the next exam, will overcome what just had happened. The choice of studying and putting more effort guides us to freedom and eventually a tranquil mind by reflection and change.  Furthermore, being stoic isn’t the answer to a good life but more of an application to use when events are thrown at you and using a calm decision making, in order to get to eudaimonia. In similarity, learning how to find the golden mean in every situation is also an application to use in order to find the best possible reaction to a problem. Afterwards, the outcomes and future decisions will help one overcome difficulties and lead us to eudaimonia. Both philosophical responses are focus on self development and how creating more of a develop character that can create better choices. Even though they wanted self development, Aristotelianism wanted people from the society to learn from other virtuous people and exchange information based on everyone’s experience in for society to grow as a whole. Aristotle was really big on the finner good that is acquired for the people and cities instead of personal growth. On the other hand, stoicism was more of a guidance to individuals and solely benefits them on when to act and when to leave things alone. They try to influence people to overhaul their objectives through reason and change their qualities to make better their own prosperity.Their beliefs to external goods and emotions are polar opposite. Aristotle argues that goods like family, friends, and wealth are necessary to achieve eudaimonia because there must be a motive to strive for something.With the efficient amount of goods it can hold someone from developing themselves  and performing acts for virtuous development. Stoics believe that external goods are useless or can hinder your values  and one being wise was good enough to create happiness. “It needs the external goods as well; for it is impossible, or not easy, to do noble acts without the proper equipment” ( Nicomachean Ethics)  has more importance and value over external materials and allow it to overcome your feelings .Aristotle believe that emotions like hatred and anger are neither good or bad unless they’re shown in a excessively or deficiently way. In contrast, stoics believe emotions are the root cause to conflict and one must accept a life of ataraxia in order to stay calm under all circumstances.Aristotelianism and Stoicism were two huge influential western philosophical responses to the question, “what is a good life?” In today’s modern world, society can definitely take certain concepts from each, in order to strive for eudaimonia. With each philosophical response having its weakness a combination of the two would work much better. Imagine a person who can understand certain  things are out of control, take full responsibility of their action but learn how to find the sweet spot to every situation. For anyone this would definitely be better combination . On the other hand, one wouldn’t want to cut out feelings or externals but instead using them for the good. There is no wrong or right way to achieve the highest level of good because both philosophical responses can you guide but just taking different paths.

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