Everyone’s main aim in life should be to live the “goodlife”. There are many different interpretations on what the good life is andhow to exactly achieve it. For some people it may consist of acquiring wealth,while others may think that having power or experiencing pleasure may lead themto live the good life.
However, Greek philosopher, Aristotle considers the’good life’ as the happy life, that is, when happiness is the aim of the goodlife. In this sense, he is trying to saythat by fulfilling a specific human function, and fulfilling it with excellence,we will be living in the good life. He thought that a good life was one spentin reasoning and striving to acquire knowledge. Another ancient philosopher,Plato, believed that the good life is a harmonious life achieved through orderand balance. In Chapter8 –Norms For Moral Living, topics like rules, passions, norms, natural laws andmoral principles were discussed. These topics are essentially all connected tothe good life and the guidelines on how to live it.
When considering norms as away of moral living, one may ask themself, “how can norms function in promotingand protecting the good life?” The answer to this is that norms promote andprotect our values and they let us be free. In other words, they create astructured and a rather organized society where a lot of things are possible.Essentially, norms are what help guide us through all of our inclinations andpassions.
Both passions and inclinations are needed in the search for commongood but because passions are not recognized as good nor evil, we depend onreason to point us in the right direction. This is where laws and rules comeinto play. Much like norms, we also have laws and rules, which are theregulations that are enforced to promote the common good and a sense of order. These two assistindividuals in choosing the right path as well as directing what they shouldand shouldn’t do on their journey. Plato states, “we must not be ruled by ourpassions and sensual inclinations. Our reasoning should regulate these passionsand inclinations.
” Chapter8 also mentions two unique stories; one of a man (Gyges) who finds a ring that gives him theability to disappear and uses it for immoral purposes and the other story is abouta couple (Ilya and Franka) who are unable to reproduce and seek in-vitrofertilization as a means to have a baby. With regards to the story of Gyges, Iwas able to recognize that the moral of the story was that people behave justlyin society because there is fear of getting caught, not because they want to dothe right thing. This is not what is expected for good moral citizen. We shouldstrive to do well regardless of the consequences. While in the story of Ilyaand Franka, their desire to have a child was challenged because of the CatholicChurch and the belief that in-vitro fertalization is not an admissible means tohave a child for various reasons, one being that the treatment undermines theprinciple of respect for human life.
Immanuel Kant would also condemn the couple’sactions, as he believed that we should never treat someone as a means to anend, instead humans should be treated as an end in themselves. With that beingsaid, people should not to be guided by their passions and inclinations but bytheir reason, as it should regulate these desires. In Conclusion, Chapter 8 –Norms for Moral Living,discuses a great deal on what it truly means to live a good life, and furtherillustrates how one can life that good life and that there are many interpretationsto this. We must obey what we are told and follow the rules since they arethere to lead us to the common good and essential the good life. Additionally,living a good life allows one to have a balance between both emotional andphysical demands while still obey and living by law, rules and the authority.