What is Man’s Purpose?

Ellen Martin – Period 1

What is man’s function? Is it happiness or having a good job or a good life? According to Aristotle’s The Nicomachean Ethics man’s function is to “exercise of his vital faculties [or soul] on one side in obedience to reason, and on the other side with reason.” Aristotle is saying that any man’s function is to be the best one can be and to use what one’s gifts are to the best of their ability. Also to use their gifts for good. According to Aristotle man’s function is to have reason in the world and have a meaningful life, but not everyone has the same function.

Man’s function is different for different people. For example if someone is a doctor then their function would be to help save lives and help people’s wellbeing. Everyone has a different function because if everyone had the same function then society and life would not be interesting because everything would be the same. Society needs different types of people to keep on being fun and interesting. Aristotle also says that “and where there is an end beyond the act, there the result is better that the exercise of the faculty.” [1] He is saying that in every action there is an end result. This result has to do with a man’s function because no matter what action man does, it always has an end result that effects other people and themselves. For example Aristotle states in The Nicomachean Ethics that “health is the end of medicine, ships of shipbuilding, victory of the art of war, and wealth of economy.” He is describing how different professions have different purposes and that deals with how everyone has a different purpose in life. According to the website “Meaning of Life”, “Human beings obviously exist because they manifest themselves to other human beings.” [2] This website is saying how a human’s purpose is to exist with other humans and without other humans life would be meaningless. People need other people to live and to have a meaningful life and to have a purpose. Man’s function is not the same for everyone because that would make life boring.

Overall man’s function, according to Aristotle, is that everyone has their own gifts and they should use them for good and to help the world. Also that everyone has different functions because if everyone had the same function then life and society would be boring. Finally humans need other humans to survive in society because people help each other grow into who they are going to be. Man’s function in life is not just happiness it is helping other people and finding one’s strengths and weaknesses.

Picture [3]

[1] Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

[2] Requadt, Walter. “Human Existence and the Meaning of Life.” The Meaning of Life: An exploration of the purpose of human existence. Accessed May 01, 2017. http://www.rationality.net/meaning.htm.

[3] “People helping people clipart.” ClipartFest. Accessed May 02, 2017. https://clipartfest.com/download/6db7defd239c4e35236490f335baaa59b18a06cb.html.


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