Aristotle and Kant’s Philosophies of Life

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Now that we exist, what are we supposed to do, and is there life after death? What is the difference between life and existence? These questions are difficult to answer with certainty but philosophers have over time tried to understand and explain the meaning of life. There is also the question of what is morally right or wrong or what is good or evil in society. All over the world, atrocities are committed against human beings by other human beings such as the Rwanda Massacre that left thousands dead.

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Such actions are considered evil but there is a degree to which actions are evil. some people commit evil acts due to mental illness or to safeguard the nation while others do it deliberately. Philosophers like Immanuel Kant believe that evil is a “self-serving choice that individuals make freely even when they know the moral law they ought to be following” (Rosenstand, 2011, p. 6). According to Aristotle, the pursuit of happiness is the highest good achievable through reasoning while others believe goodness is inherent in human beings.

The paper is going to discuss two ethical writers and their philosophies on the meaning of life and compare them to their own thoughts.The two great philosophers and ethical writers to be discussed are Aristotle and Immanuel Kant. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and a student of Plato whose major writings have had a lot of influence over the years. He is one of the founding figures in Western philosophy and has written on several disciplines including politics, government, ethics, and metaphysics among others (Eagleton, 2007).

Kant on the other hand is a German philosopher who has written various works on ethics, law, history, and religion. H is also a major contributor to the development of philosophy. I chose the two philosophers because their names are familiar and in the course of my studies I have read some of their work which is interesting and influential. Aristotle in his work describes man as a political animal by nature while Kant is a great critic of rationalists such as Rene Descartes. Their ethical theories are of great help in understanding the meaning of life, especially what is meant by good or evil and what makes life great or worthy of living.

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