Chapter

Happiness and Self-Sufficiency

Anthony Kenny

in Aristotle on the Perfect Life

Published in print July 1992 | ISBN: 9780198240174
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680106 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198240174.003.0003
Happiness and Self-Sufficiency

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Aristotle lays down two conditions which happiness must fulfil. It must be perfect, and it must be self-sufficient. The property considered in this chapter is its self-sufficiency. Aristotle, in making self-sufficiency a requirement of happiness, defines the self-sufficient (to autarkes) as ‘that which on its own makes life worthy of choice and lacking in nothing’. Aristotle's requirement that happiness must be self-sufficient is used as a principal argument by those who wish to press an inclusive interpretation of the concept of happiness in Nicomachean Ethics. There are two quite different reasons which may be offered for saying that happiness cannot be counted along with other goods. One is that happiness includes other goods, so that to count it with one of them would involve counting something twice; the other is that happiness is a supreme end to which other things are means, and that means and ends are not commensurable.

Keywords: happiness; self-sufficient; Aristotle; interpretation; supreme end

Chapter.  8920 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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