I feel like Aristotle gives us conflicting messages on whether we can do things for fun/pleasure. Would doing things done for pleasure such as going on holiday or playing video games be considered moral by Aristotle?

  • You'll have to be more specific as to what the "mixed messages" are. Aristotle endorses sensual pleasure, but only when it fits into a larger context of virtuous life and is balanced with other activities, see SEP, Aristotle on Pleasure.
    – Conifold
    Jul 17 '20 at 2:53
  • @Conifold Thanks for answering. Im referring to Nicomachean Ethics I, where Aristotle suggests "Now the mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts [seeking physical pleasure and avoiding physical pain]". But then later he revisits pleasure and speaks more positively about it.
    – Jim stoke
    Jul 17 '20 at 3:05
  • The problem is not physical pleasure as such, but physical pleasure alone or primarily, which is more "suitable to beasts". Physical pleasure can and should be part of the right mix, in good measure, but human happiness also (and primarily) answers to higher callings. Hence the importance of virtue in finding the right mix.
    – Conifold
    Jul 17 '20 at 3:25
  • @Conifold ah thanks, that helps. Just for final clarification when you say "Hence the importance of virtue in finding the right mix", that is referring to life overall and not every individual activity that has to contain the right mix. He would have permitted something such as playing video games, which has no greater bearing on developing ones excellence so long as our life was otherwise "excellent".
    – Jim stoke
    Jul 17 '20 at 3:28
  • Aritstotle is not prescriptive, virtue is about developing informed moral intuition that guides a custom made mix of activities that accomplish eudaimonia for a particular person, not about a moral code. Even something as light as video games can influence one's skillset and/or good spirits in subtle ways. But pleasures compete, one takes time and resources from another, perhaps more satisfying, all things considered. No one-size-fits-all code can consider it all, only a virtuous person can confidently judge what and when, for them, is done enough and not too much or too little.
    – Conifold
    Jul 17 '20 at 5:24

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