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Should we all be following Aristotle's ethics to have a good human life? Should we constantly exercise virtue? Is this good for individuals and society?

closed as primarily opinion-based by virmaior, stoicfury Sep 26 '14 at 1:21

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Wat? If you are asking if it is good to be good, then yes it is good to be good. – yamm Sep 25 '14 at 7:52
  • You should - if you follow Aristotle. So if you are not asking if a tautology is true, I suppose you are asking if Aristotle was right? If so, that is quite a big question... – Einer Sep 25 '14 at 10:45
  • Hey Bob! Welcome to Philosophy.SE! :) Unfortunately, this site is not really for polling whether people believe we should follow X or Y belief/theory. This is explicitly discouraged here, but also, your question seems to ask for empirical information (I don't know of anyone who has empirically tested whether following Aristotle's ethical theory leads to a good life) which philosophy does not speak to. See What topics can I ask about here? and What types of questions should I avoid asking?. – stoicfury Sep 26 '14 at 1:17
  • Keep in mind you can also edit your question if you think you can fix it in a way that fits with the types of questions we look for here. Let me know if you need any help with anything. In the meantime, I'm going to put this question on hold to prevent answers from building up on a question whose phrasing is going to change. :) – stoicfury Sep 26 '14 at 1:20
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Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue is a must-read on this issue. He surveys what he calls the "Enlightenment Project"—the attempt to derive morality from Reason—and argues that it failed, miserably. He advocates a return to virtue ethics, which originally he thought could be done without teleology, but later came to see as essential. He argues for building upon Thomas Aquinas' update to Aristotle. For an analysis of the attempt to build a social life on secularism (which I would say is quite similar to said "Enlightenment Project"), I suggest UCSD law prof Steven D. Smith's The Disenchantment of Secular Discourse, which contains this snippet:

No one expects that anything called "reason" will dispel such pluralism by leading people to converge on a unified truth—certainly not about ultimate or cosmic matters such as "the nature of the universe" or "the end and the object of life." Indeed, unity on such matters could be achieved only by state coercion: Rawls calls this the "fact of oppression."[36] So a central function of "public reason" today is precisely to keep such matters out of public deliberation (subject to various qualifications and exceptions that Rawls conceded as his thinking developed). And citizens practice Rawlsian public reason when they refrain from invoking or acting on their "comprehensive doctrines"—that is, their deepest convictions about what is really true—and consent to work only with a scaled-down set of beliefs or methods that claim the support of an ostensible "overlapping consensus".[Political Liberalism, 133-172, 223-227] (14–15)

An introduction to his book can be found at the NYT op ed Are There Secular Reasons?.

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