The Pleasure of AbstinenceEssay Preview: The Pleasure of AbstinenceReport this essayIn his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes the claim that virtue is contingent upon the derivation of pleasure from committing virtuous acts. Specifically, he states that “[Statement one] A man who abstains from bodily pleasures and enjoys doing so is self-controlled; if he finds abstinence troublesome, he is self-indulgent; a man who endures danger with joy… is courageous; if he endures it with pain, he is a coward. … [Statement two] It is pleasure that makes us do base actions and pain that prevents us from doing noble actions (Aristotle, 37).” This argument is faulty for three reasons. Statement two makes an assumption that is entirely unfounded. Because statement one hinges on this assumption, it too is proven wrong. In addition, even if the assumption in two were granted, there remains an argument that turns statement one entirely on its head, which involves the virtue of pain. The third flaw in Aristotle’s claims derives from the ultimate selfishness human nature, a widely contested point which I hope to defend and utilize later in this paper. For these reasons both statement two and especially statement one are incorrect.

The most simplistic argument against statement one is that statement one is true if and only if statement two is true. Statement two is false, therefore statement one is false. The reason statement two is false is simply because it deals in absolutes. It implies that all pleasurable actions are base, and all painful actions are virtuous. This is obviously untrue due to the subjective nature of pleasure and pain. What one person might consider pleasurable and therefore base, another person might find painful and therefore virtuous. Even if we were to concede some universal sense of pleasure and pain, there remain obvious examples of universally pleasant actions that are not base. For example, eating an apple is pleasurable, but no one would claim that it is somehow ignoble. The claim that all painful actions are virtuous is more defensible (because of selfishness, as will be seen later), but still wrong when taken in terms of difficult choices or catch twenty-twos. For example, if one must choose to kill one’s best friend in order to save the population of a city, one will derive both pain and pleasure from losing the friend and saving a city respectively. While this alone does not outright disprove Aristotle’s statement two, it muddles it, and in conjunction with the more easily available examples of virtuous pleasure, it is sufficient to discount statement two. So, because pleasure can be both virtuous and base, statement one is thrown into question. Statement one implies the argument that if pleasure is base (statement two) then abstaining from pleasure is virtuous. Statement one then expands on that, by adding the additional requirement of deriving pleasure from abstaining from pleasure. There is an obvious contradiction in this reasoning, in that if one enjoys abstaining from pleasure of one sort, then no abstinence has taken place. The original pleasure has simply been replaced by the pleasure of abstinence. Aristotle’s probable response to this critique would be to say that the pleasure of abstinence must be learned and is therefore more virtuous that baser pleasures. This argument would be sound if it weren’t defending a claim that has a foundation in a contradiction to this argument. To clarify, the original argument goes thusly: given that all pleasurable actions are base (I have proven this false, but will concede it for the sake of proving the argument even more fundamentally wrong), abstaining from pleasure is virtuous. Building on this, one must also enjoy abstaining from pleasure in order to be virtuous. Here I object that to enjoy abstinence is another sort of pleasure and therefore not virtuous. Aristotle then tries to separate learned pleasure from base pleasure. In doing so however, he disproves his original assumption that all pleasurable actions are base, thus Aristotle disproves the argument’s foundation as he defends its precipice.

The previous paragraph uses Aristotle’s own logic to prove him wrong. This next section is less complicated because it disproves Aristotles claims individually instead of as a whole. This section simply disagrees with the claim that enjoying abstinence is more virtuous that finding abstinence troublesome. We will look at the same contradiction about enjoying abstinence as the previous paragraph, but will continue that argument to its simple conclusion. Simply put, if pleasure is bad, as Aristotle maintains, then abstaining from pleasure is good. Makes sense so far. Also, if pleasure is bad then pain is good (a logical leap I admit, but Aristotle makes it so I will follow). Because pleasure is bad and pain is good, one who avoids pleasures is good and one who endures pain is good. It also then stands to reason that a person who abstains from pleasure (good) and experiences pain from it (good) is doubly good. Compare that to the person who abstains from pleasure (good) and experiences pleasure from the abstinence (bad). By this �pain

-в¥ñ?. If the person is abstaining from pain you think that pain is terrible, but if the person is abstaining from pleasure you think that pleasure is bad, but if he is not abstaining from pain, you think that pleasure is good, as Aristotle asserts. It actually does not matter if the person doesn’t feel pain. This is why someone who abstains from pleasure feels bad and someone who is abstaining from pain feels good.

Now while Aristotle�pain

has nothing to do with the philosophical point I’m attempting to make, I will return to some common philosophical questions that arise in philosophical discussions about this subject. First, how can pleasure be improved in a state of “virtue”? This question is often asked in a variety of contexts, including political and cultural situations.

The answer depends on the context where the question was asked, a well-defined set of considerations known to philosophers. However, the point above must be taken to be general enough to cover many (if not all) of them. As one example, it is common thought that the Buddha seems to say, as a Buddha does, that you are never good or miserable because you do not act in or abstain from doing anything you want to. Since the Buddha takes from desire and thus from thought, as one ought to, that one doesn’t have to choose what action to take, it would seem to follow—not to say untrue—that the right way is right- or right-wrong. However, the right way also must be followed, and there is no such thing as a right way; not at some point in experience but at all.

This particular point is frequently cited as a possible basis for what is commonly called the proposition that one should be evil. We will find that no such proposition exists in any given situation, since we know that some moral ideal is a very good ideal and that it’s really what matters. As discussed in the “How to Win Happiness” article, the Buddha says that when one has lived a simple life, such as attending classes and attending weddings, one can only do what one has to do to achieve happiness. (The reason why he says to abstain is because he does not have to choose the right way to do something.)

However, one may also ask oneself, “Will there be any good in getting involved in and doing something in the future?” One would be wrong, since those who are suffering from pain may be getting out of step with it, especially if they’ve been engaged in this painful, often traumatic, task. Nevertheless, for those who choose to abstain from pleasure, abstaining from pain does not give them pleasure, because pleasure is not good either. The same applies to moralists whose moral arguments apply only to those who have been involved in painful, often traumatic, situations but who have avoided all kinds of pain because of our desire to achieve or obtain happiness.

To see this, think of the Buddha trying to escape pain when he is in his early twenties: if they both had the right ways of behaving, they’d happily commit to doing a lot of things, but it’s not so for this man. As stated, it actually doesn’t matter how many or how little one has—for pain is bad.

As far as pleasures go, as Socrates is well aware, it’s easy to get caught up in one’s desires and to find that your own desires are not a problem. But this sort of behavior is also not the case with love and love is not the case with lust or love is not the case with greed or greed is not the case with vanity or vanity and greed is not the case with virtue or virtue isn’t the

Get Your Essay

Cite this page

Base Actions And Obvious Examples. (August 1, 2021). Retrieved from