Moral and political theory is a vast field, but it all starts with the question “What makes an action right?” In his classic work Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle begins by asking what would be the perfect society for humans. He concludes that such a society would be one in which everyone did their job well without any conflict or strife. Everyone’s happiness depends on others’ doing their jobs well too, so we need to make sure they are happy first before considering our own happiness. This means following ethical norms of honesty, justice

, courage, and self-control–the cardinal virtues–to live the good life according to virtue ethics. There are many different types of ethical theories. One example is the utilitarian theory, which states that an action is right if it brings about more happiness than unhappiness for everyone involved. Utilitarianism’s question “what makes an action right?” changes to “What will bring us the most happiness in general?”. Unsurprisingly, this view has become widely popular since emerging as a force during the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution periods. This essay explores how Aristotle’s virtue ethics differs from other major ethical systems like utilitarianism by examining how moral and political philosophy might look at one crucial point: what ought be our core purpose? For Aristotelian thinkers, we have two options: (i) seek out individual pleasures or (ii) strive to


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