Joseph Addison: On Honor and Cato

Born in 1672, Joseph Addison is an English writer well-known for his 1712 tragedy, Cato, which was performed for George Washington’s Continental Army at Valley Forge and was a major literary inspiration for many of the key figures of the American Revolutionary War. The tragedy is about the final days of the stoic Roman statesman, Marcus Portius Cato, during which he contemplates the approaching army of his enemy, Julius Caesar. At the close of the play, Cato chooses an honorable death by suicide rather than a dishonorable surrender to Caesar. Continue reading

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Aristotle’s Purpose of Life

Aristotle’s Purpose of Life

In Book One of Aristotle’s Ethics, he considers perhaps the most vexing question that humanity confronts: What is the purpose of life? Aristotle argues that everything has a purpose or goal, and that the purpose is always to attain some good. The “Chief Good” for humanity is that purpose for which all human action is performed. Aristotle believes that the Chief Good for humans is Eudaimonia (often translated as ‘happiness’). However, Aristotle’s ‘Eudaimonia’ is not the feeling or experience most modern people associate with the word happiness. This post will describe how Aristotle concluded that the purpose of human life is to attain happiness, and also the definition of Aristotle’s Eudaimonia. Continue reading