Happiness for Aristotle is an activity of the soul, i.e. the correct and full use of the soul can help us to discover happiness.

Aristotle divided the soul into two parts, the rational part and the irrational part.

Each part is then split into a further two parts:

Rational part – contains the calculative and the scientific parts.

  • Calculative side does what it says; it calculates. It weighs up knowledge and helps us arrive at decisions.
  • Scientific side holds types of knowledge that are factual and not up for debate (a priori knowledge).

Irrational part – contains the desiderative and vegetative parts.

  • Desiderative side helps us to distinguish between needs and wants.
  • Vegetative side is concerned with basic needs that keep us alive and is effectively our survival instincts.

In Aristotle’s belief, a correctly functioning soul uses all of the parts well and properly. Only a soul that functions correctly can find happiness/eudaemonia.