In my History of Ancient Philosophy class (which is poorly labeled, considering we cover only a few selected works of Plato, Aristotle, and the pre-Socratics), we are currently reading Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.
According to Aristotle, there are 3 categories of goods.
1. goods which are valued for their own sake & never for the sake of something else (intrinsic goods)
2. goods which are never valued for their own sake & only for the sake of something else (instrumental goods)
3. goods which we value both for their own sake & for the sake of something else (goods which are both intrinsic & instrumental)
*Here the word good is being used as "that at which a thing is aimed" or an "end." (the end of medical art is health, shipbuilding - a ship, strategy - victory)
Eventually Aristotle argues that there must be at least one [intrinsic] good which we value for its own sake and not for anything else because otherwise "the process [of desire] would go on to infinity, so that our desire would be empty and vain." (Book I, Ch. 1) He argues that this ultimate end, towards which every other end aims, is Happiness.
DIFFICULTY: For some reason, it's neither obvious nor clear to me that the 3rd category of goods would exist if Happiness was the ultimate end (or the only intrinsic good). Aristotle's third category of goods includes goods which are valuable for their own sake and for the sake of something else. His examples are Honor, Pleasure, Reason, and Virtue.
1. If we desire Happiness for its own sake and Honor, Pleasure, Reason, and Virtue as a means to that end (Happiness), how can we also desire goods like Honor, Pleasure, Reason, and Virtue in and of themselves as well?
Wouldn't we value Honor, Pleasure, Reason, and Virtue only in so far as they are components of Happiness or a happy life (the good life)?
I want to run my hand through wavy gray storm clouds. I want to hold the essence of being as it condenses inside me giving way to sweat, blood, and tears. ~
I would like more people to embrace their religion; not the religion they belong to. The religion of life, instead, that comes from being them. ~Jayson
I am a man; nothing human is foreign to me. ~