Human beings care about many things in life and are the reason as to why there exist beliefs and domains in life. Values and ethics make the greatest of human cares and form a major part in consciousness and rational thinking. Several philosophies have existed especially in dealing and guiding human behaviors and characters in relation to others and nature. Man philosophers in the past such as Aristotle, Socrates and Amy Taylor focused on different fields, but the most sought after and studied is human ethics, values and human relationships, which was basically anchored on emotions and other feelings like love.
There is always a great difference in the way philosophers analyze and depict given texts because everyone engages their own thinking and circumstances. However, there are also similarities and variances in different philosophical texts from different philosophers. For example, there is a great difference in logical engagement and analysis of Aristotle’s text concerning values and Amy Taylor’s text in the section of sex.
The paper will conduct a comparative analysis of the two philosophers Aristotle and Amy Taylor’s texts of values and love respectively to present similarities and dissimilarities between the two texts.
In the view of Aristotle, values or ethics are the moral virtues formed through action and habituation. Aristotle places the understanding of human actions in a wide spectrum that based on knowledge and numerous other factors that bring happiness to a human being. Habit in conduct plays an important role in nurturing values and that the good life is a life of mindfulness routine. Aristotle talks about moral value to denote the passive habituation and ‘hexis’ to denote active condition where something must actively hold itself. The philosopher also describes moral virtue as the only practical way to effective action.
In ‘Nocomachean ethics’, Aristotle argues that an individual’s character is intentional and a resultant of numerous single actions drawn from personal control. The nature to feel emotions with regard to values is also derived from virtues and vice. Through his text, Aristotle also believed that human beings deliberate on what to do by the means and not the ends. This mean that Aristotle believes in values as a way of considering the means than the ends when perform a given act.
Happiness depends on living with appropriate virtues, which act as a disposition rather than an activity. This is because Aristotle believed that a virtuous person is naturally willing to behave rightly and has the right intentions because they are pushed by the urge to feel pleasure. This also means that people who behave rightly are compelled by their own urge to feel good by doing something good, and the vice versa is true.
Additionally, Aristotle viewed values as aspects that vary from one person to another meaning they are voluntary engagements in people. However, there are exceptions particularly when people are coerced or forced to behave dishonorably contrary to their wishes such as under severe threat. This kind of actions is not characterized by the agent’s course of action or by reasoning how the ends shall be.
On the other hand, Amy Taylor through her philosophy of sex states that sex is an act that is there to make human beings develop feelings and affectionate towards the opposite sex. Taylor gives her perspective a scientific view, which describes sex with the concept of recreation. According to Taylor sex is has visual interest and the fact that two people have to see each other to create attraction is based on a scientific idea that people without sexual attraction are considered as abnormal beings.
This means that Taylor considers sex as an involuntary act that an individual cannot control in given extremes. Taylor denotes that character is very important in sexual attraction from both parties involved. For example, Taylor states that a woman’s character determines whether she will be viewed as attractive or not attractive. On the other hand, a man’s character also determines if he will be attracted to a given characteristic in a woman or not.
Sex is an end rather than a means to an end. This is evident that the urge for sex is barely initiated for enjoying and happiness purposes. Sexually, female bodies are considered as objects rather than subjects of perception. Additionally, sex does not have a goal or a given structure, because it is an enjoyment practice that seeks to make individuals happy as the end result of the process.
Philosophically, sex is portrayed as a function in itself rather than an activity. Taylor places sex as an imaginative play that takes two to enjoy and a function that seeks to achieve the ends than the means. Human actions towards sex are also governed by the happiness that will be attained at the end of sex.
The two texts are relative in the rationality concerning given human activities. The application of reason and conceptual thoughts in line with given aspects of human lives focuses heavily on actions and decisions with regard to the outcomes. In his text, Aristotle states that values dispose people to behave in the correct manner. In order for one to behave correctly, the application of intellectual virtue such as prudence, which helps to reason properly and do the right thing.
Amy Taylor also asserts that sex is an application of phenomena and ethics. Taylor also claims that apart from attraction being the center of sexual activities, satisfaction and the desires to attain happiness is also the driving force behind sexual needs. Just like Aristotle’s claim that values and virtues are performed under various forms of happiness, Taylor also perceives that sex can act to praise the power of impulse that lift several forms of happiness in human or animals. Taylor also believes that sex cannot be conducive to individual well-being without disparaging from intellectual propensities, as described by Aristotle concerning values and virtues.
Taylor’s text states that sexual impulse influences one’s judgment concerning value and the role of sexuality in relation to good or bad. This is also relevant in deciding whether sexual activities are wrong or right, which also corresponds to Aristotle’s philosophy on values concerning given actions. On this context, Aristotle claims that actions, just like sexual impulse in Taylor’s theory, helps to depict the legality of given values. Additionally, Taylor delineates that sex is not an inclination of love from one person to another, rather an inclination for the sex of another.
Another similarity between the two texts is the way the two philosophers relate their given topics to factors that drive them. Aristotle talks about involuntary actions in relation to values and virtues, and Taylor talks about involuntary arousal and the peculiarity such as the desire to consume others person’s body.
Values and sex are very unique and portray different topics and texts. In their contributions that focus majorly on logical and theoretical assumptions, Aristotle and Taylor make varying disposition. In the values text, Aristotle is very keen in bringing to the fore factors that are central to philosophy in relation to human values. Values are denoted by actions that also show the level of reason and perception, which can also measure virtue.
On the other hand, Taylor’s text takes a biological context when describing sex. The text also delineates the relationship between sex and love, which is vital in determining the outcomes. When describing sex, Taylor puts into consideration aspects such as emotions and physical attractions that arouse intentions. Aristotle’s view lays focus on personal judgment and circumstances for a given action regardless of its outcome. Additionally, sex is an ends activity rather than the means as compared to values, which are based on the means to an end.
Notably, Aristotle based his assumptions on actions and their outcomes as the main determinants and the only measures of right or wrong in terms of values and virtues. This is not the concept in Taylor’s viewpoint regarding sex because she argues based on emotions and attractions that govern one’s sexual behaviors. It is also evident from the two texts that human thoughts and feelings are central to Aristotle and Taylor’s texts respectively, which play out as the major difference in their perspectives.
In conclusion, philosophy defines different aspects in human life from varying perspectives. Aristotle is one of the greatest philosophers of all time and in his text of values, he states that human activities are aimed at an end considered to be good and driven by thought on the outcome. On the other hand, Taylor asserts that sex is a human desire driven by feelings and concern with the ends than the means, hence is about individual happiness as compared to Aristotle’s view of values, which focus at mutual interests.
- Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics.
- Amy E. Taylor’s being Through Love: The Collaborative Construction of a Sexual Body.