Yet, potentially, even people poorly endowed by nature or who have experienced terrible bereavements can live a good life. It is possible to undergo even apparently unendurable disasters and still live well: ‘even in adversity goodness shines through, when someone endures repeated and severe misfortune with patience; this is not owing to insensibility but from generosity and greatness of soul.’ In this sense, Aristotle’s is a deeply optimistic moral system. And it has practical relevance to ‘everyone’, implied by Aristotle’s inclusive use of the first personal plural: ‘This sort of philosophy is different from most other types of philosophy, since we are not asking what goodness is for the sake of knowing what it is, but with the aim of becoming good, without which our enquiry would be useless.’ In fact, the only
way to be a good person is to do good things and treat people with fairness recurrently.
Excerpt from Why Read Aristotle Today
, by Edith Hall. Read the full article here