A "Good" Question.

Aristotle in his "Nicomachean Ethics" mentions how he always posed the following question for his students to consider. Is it possible for a man to do something that he knows is not good? Before we jump and say yes, let us keep in mind that Aristotle did not necessarily mean "good" in the sense of being law abiding.

If a man robs a bank does he believe he is doing something good?. Perhaps he has had a hard life and thinks he deserves to retire early. He may feel justified because he thinks he is smarter, special, better, has a cause or just wants revenge on society. Remember, Hitler thought he was doing good in his crusade to "help" humanity.

It was Aristotle's intention to get each of his students to contemplate human nature. To analyze what makes people tick. If we can even come close to figuring that out then we have gained some valuable insights about others and ourselves. Postscript: Aristotle never gave his own answer to the question he just left it to his students to decide for themselves.

Richard Carrozza © 1996