Theoretical Analyses

Aristotle’s Entelechy and Eudaimonia in Sports

Stavroula Roumpou*ab

Abstract

Athletics, a microcosm of real life, is and constantly has been a polymorphous phenomenon, encompassing contemporary ideas of life, mind, spirit and emotion. Among Aristotle's several contributions to modern thought, one of the most intriguing, was the idea of what eudaimonia, the highest good is and the means for its fulfillment. Whilst shifting the guiding concerns from the rather moral athletic affairs on the means towards self-fulfillment, the impetus of the current article was to delve, under the teleological Aristotelian lens, on modern philosophical concerns related to successful accomplishment that expands beyond athletic effectiveness, envisioning an alternate path of approaching not only athletic psychosynthesis, but in addition, mental states that are experienced spiritually, delivering the Athlete’s ideological as well as ethical finishing touch.

Keywords: Aristotle, entelechy, eudaimonia, self-actualization, sports, athletes, coaching, motivation

Psychological Thought, 2018, Vol. 11(2), doi:10.5964/psyct.v11i2.252

Received: 2018-02-15. Accepted: 2018-06-28. Published (VoR): 2018-10-31.

Handling Editors: Irina Roncaglia, The National Autistic Society (NAS) - Sybil Elgar, London, United Kingdom; Stanislava Stoyanova, Department of Psychology, South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

*Corresponding author at: South-West University “Neofit Rilski”, 66, Ivan Mihailov Street, 2700 Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. E-mail: svroubou@gmail.com

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Over the last fifty years a large amount of scholars and philosophers have approached the Aristotelian conception as innovative wisdom, a prospective source of refreshing ideas on contemporary dilemmas related to mental phenomena and their connection to physical states (Boger, 2001; Düring, 1994). Madvin and Markel (2012) assert that Aristotle’s doctrine of the soul may provide a supportive blueprint for innovative coaching strategies. In addition, several interpreters of Aristotle endorse the consensus that the Stageirite philosophers’ ideas may seem anachronistic, since Aristotle does not operate with the mind paradigm (Lyubomirsky, 2008; Schueller & Seligman, 2010). Howbeit, to the scope that the soul elucidates mental modes of being, an investigation of the soul coincides with an investigation of the mind as it unavoidably alludes to attributes of mental modes of being. Hence, this interpretive return to the distant past may appear vital, not merely as reminiscence to contemporary philosophy on the concept of human self-actualization and wholeness, but in addition as an illustration of the Western origins of holistic consensus. Withal, in view of the fact that athletics enclose consequential moral, intellectual, social as well as political features, the current endeavor appears meaningful as well as rationalized to revive, regenerate and rehabilitate a few of Aristotle’s underlying insights that once moulded the Greek sport ideal in its noble association with a systemic aspect on the amelioration of the fullest human potential as regards to physical activity.

Psyche [TOP]

Aristotle’s doctrine of the soul initiates with the soul’s (psyche) concept, wherein the soul is the stirring determinant of all human expressions, “το τὶ ἦν εἶναι, των όντων που έχουν ζωή” (Aristotle, 1999, pp. 402a6-7). The verb “ψύχω” (psycho) means “πνέω” (“pneo”, eupnea) which is life (through eupnea) whilst from the verb “ψυχω” (psycho) derives the noun “ψυχή” (psyche), which is deemed as the “soul”. The Stageirite philosopher clarifies the notion of psyche as: “τοῦτο ᾧ ζῶμεν καὶ αἰσθανόμεθα καὶ διανοούμεθα πρώτως” signifying that psyche is the element, with which we primarily live, perceive and think (Aristotle, 1999, pp.414a12-13). According to Bos (2003), the Aristotelian psyche is the elemental force, the vis vitalis, which even bodiless, orchestrates the movements of the body.

Entelechy [TOP]

In Metaphysics Theta, Aristotle originally coined the entelechy notion (Aristotle, 1961, Θ.1, pp.1045b33-4; Θ7, pp.1047a5-6; Θ8, p.1050a23) to explicate the inner-directed force, that steers every dwelling organism to discover and realize its optimal potency (Makin, 2006). Aristotle illustrated entelechy as a procedure of personal convalescence, from what is prospective to what is enhanced and accomplished, as an innate energy that steers individuals to excellence and consequently to self-actualization (Ross, 1936, p. 537). In addition, Sachs (2005) decodes entelechy as the energy towards actualization (the activity which makes a thing what it is, the final end or perfection). According to Ritter (1932) and Johnson (2005), the term entelechy specifies a state of wholeness, which arises from an internal flow towards this state.

Aristotle’s entelechy is the "end within itself" (Kells, 2006, p. 263), that is the potentiality of each dwelling being to develop ceaselessly, from the imperfect to perfect in a teleological evolution (e. g. a seed becomes a plant; what a seed has, that causes it to develop into a plant – that is actuality in lieu of what might possibly later be constructively revealed). In addition, Hergenhahn (1997) asserts that entelechy is the purpose for which a thing exists; which remains a potential until actualized. Moreover, the scientist pertains to human entelechy, as the active purpose that exists within the soul, proving humans with their highest purpose, their entelechy.

In the sports’ arena, it is actually the dynamics of sportsmen to exert themselves for excellence. As outlined by Sachs (2005), Aristotle developed the term entelechy by combining the meanings of the word entelēs ("fulfilled") with the word echein (= hexis, to act in a specific manner via the continual endeavor to remain in that particular situation), whilst simultaneously puns on entelecheia (ενδελέχεια, “perseverance") by inserting the word "telos" (τέλος, "realization"). Telos is the force, the dynamis, the potency. Aristotle considered that the Telos is the individual’s greatest potency. For example, as according to Aristotle, the Telos (purpose) of an acorn is growing into a strong oak tree, (McKeon, 1947, p. 1094a) in the sports’ field, the purpose drive for athletes is the pursuance of the gold/fame/fortune – perfection paradigm. In addition, the sports coaches’ telos (purpose) is to cultivate their athletes’ potentials to achieve perfection.

Psyche as Entelechy [TOP]

Aristotle deems the body and the psyche in a transparent unity “the soul neither exists without a body … but it belongs to a body and for this reason is present in a body” (Aristotle, 1999, pp. 403a6-7). Hence, the soul and the body are not two substances but inseparable elements of one indivisible substance (Gerson 1999; Ross, 1991; Wilkes, 1978). In addition, Aristotle remarks that the body cannot be soul, for the body is not something predicated of a subject, but rather is itself to be regarded as a subject, i.e., as matter (ὕλη). Since the soul is substance, “ψυχὴν οὐσίαν εἶναι ὡς εἶδος"), the soul (substance, psyche) is the body’s first actuality entelechy (ἐντελέχεια), or the first grade of actuality (in Ross, 1961), which arises when the body has reached a certain perfection “ἡ δ' οὐσία ἐντελέχεια· τοιούτου ἄρα σώματος ἐντελέχεια" (Aristotle, 1999, p.412a27). Psyche, (the soul) is thereby the substance, as a form of the living human body that embodies actuality. In line with the current view, Ross (1991) articulated that this wholeness state, entelechy, may be considered as the ending point of human amelioration. However, this is not correct, due to the fact that any human being (athlete) that improves, improves from a stage wherein he maintains a specific sinew for the actualization of this potency. Thereupon, psyche as entelechy, should be described as a purpose-directing determinant, which steers the form (the body) toward the end- purpose of any dwelling being (Johansen, 2012; Leroi, 2014).

Eudaimonia [TOP]

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle describes the term eudaimonia as the highest good for humans (Aristotle, 1962, pp. 1095a13-20) which may be accomplished by a predetermined kind of exceptional activityi. Hence, eudaimonia is elucidated as the superlative good of all goods (Ryan & Huta, 2009; Ryff & Singer, 2008), as the supreme activation / energy of the soul in its completeness (Aristotle, 1962, pp. 1102a5-6). Aristotle contends that happiness is a sort of contemplation “ἡ εὐδαιμονία θεωρία τις” (Aristotle, 1962, p.1178b32), which recommends, that the higher activity of the human intellect, “nous” is an indigenous process whereas impulse and aspiration give rise to an outermost activity.

In line with Aristotle, Schmid’s (2000) conceptualization reflects the claim that happiness is the only thing pursued for its own sake, suggesting that pure, autotelic performance requires purely intrinsic reasons. Moreover, Aristotle (1962) asserts that a hierarchy of ends exists akin to Maslow's (1987) hierarchy of needs and that the endpoint in this specific schema is the final end. This final end, since it is not pursued for the benefit of an end besides itself, is consequently desired for its own benefit: “there is certain end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this)” (Aristotle, 1962, pp. 1094a17-18). In view of the fact that all human actions are eventually desired for the sake of the ultimate end, Aristotle affirms that the final end is the transcendent good for human beings: “we call final without qualification that which is constantly desired in itself and never for the sake of something else … such a thing eudaimonia, above all else, is held to be” (Aristotle, 1962, pp. 1097a37-1097b1).

Some of the fascinating parallels between science and philosophy examine the way that Aristotelian eudaimonia, as the only intrinsically motivated end, desired for the sake of itself idea, has been awaited by a number of scientific researchers and scholars, such as Ackrill (1980) and Ryan, Connell, and Plant (1990). In addition, Goldstein (1934) asserts that each entirety strives to be fulfilled. Moreover, Maslow’s (1954) self-fulfillment substructure akin to Aristotle’s hierarchy of human capacities (wherein rationale possesses the top place) is an a priori blueprint that enlightens self-development. As Maslow states, it is the “intrinsic growth of what is already in the organism, or more accurately of what is the organism itself...self-actualization is growth-motivated rather than deficiency-motivated.” (Maslow, 1954, p. 112).

Entelechy as a Motivator to Eudaimonia [TOP]

Aristotle’s teleological perspective distinguishes its entire thinking structure. Likewise, the purpose of each individual is a desire for the attainment of a specific objective, (which is either the end by itself or the mechanism that leads to an alternative end) realistically conceived as goodii (Aristotle, 1962, pp. 1113a6-7). Moreover, the Stageirit philosopher believes, that the most effective means to rationalize the “why” things are the way they are, would be to determine the purpose they were formulated to perform. By discerning human functionality, Aristotle contends that individuals may discover their highest good in a specific rationalized kind of activity: "human good ends up being the [rational], action of soul (psyche) in line with virtue" (Aristotle, 1962, pp.1098a16-17). In addition, Aristotle (1962) equalize the notion of ergon, (which means endeavor or attainment), with the praxis (practice, the action), to demonstrate anything that is purposively performed by human beings, providing a record of the sort of action that will actualize the inherently preferred end of eudaimoniaiii. This transition from an intrinsically desired end to a specific sort of action signifies a relating transition from inherent desire to inherent motivation. Thence, Aristotle implies that “…artefacts like houses and statues which arise from thought never arise from necessity (Aristotle, 1994, pp. 95a4-5) explicating that eudaimon individuals (athletes) are intrinsically inspired to involve themselves into virtuous actions (sports) that fulfill their psyche with thriving eudaimonia. According to Frankl (1992) this intellectual entelechy’s dimension which encompasses a plurality of agents (such as the athletes’ desire for happiness, goal-orientation, dedication, endeavor that goes beyond the corporeal), is innately aligned to the psyche /body system, via epitomized novel actions, and ethical values (Fabry, 1994; Smoll & Smith, 1987).

In his Teleology, Aristotle (1962) outlines that each behavior is designed to serve an instrumental end, where intended actions are utilized as the means for the accomplishment of an additional objective or an internal end, wherein all actions are performed for the sake of itself. Individuals pursue their final end, which is eudaimonia (ευδαιμονία – happiness). Once we determine the purpose that individuals pursue, we may be able to rationalize human behavior, wherein each and every purpose is merely the means of this ultimate purpose. Likewise, the Aristotelian eudaimonia is highlighted as autonomous, as the ultimate end at which all actions aim. “τέλειον δή τι φαίνεται καὶ αὔταρκες ἡ εὐδαιµονίᾱ, τῶν πρακτῶν οὖσα τέλος” (Aristotle, 1962, p. 1097b).

Withal, Aristotle indicates that “φανερὸν δ' ὡς καὶ οὗ ἕνεκεν ἡ ψυχὴ αἰτία· ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ νοῦς ἕνεκά του ποιεῖ, τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον καὶ ἡ φύσις, καὶ τοῦτ' ἔστιν αὐτῆς τέλος”, which means that “…the soul is also the final cause… for intellect, always does whatever it does for the sake of something, which something is its end” (Aristotle, 1999, pp. 415b15-7). Undoubtedly, the awe-inspiring intellect is considered to be the psyche’s entelechy. Moreover, the “nous”, the practical mind of an individual, empowers him to be deliberately purpose-directed towards actuality. Thereupon, we may sketch the psyche (the body’s first entelechy) structure as a computing program that is steered toward realization by the rational nous. As a consequence, we may conclude that the quest to entelechy, which implies the pursuit of a telos, necessitates a motive. This motive represents the individuals’ struggle for eudaimonia towards self-fulfillment.

Eudaimonia as a Self-Actualization Process [TOP]

Self-actualizationiv process has been widely utilized by numerous psychology concepts, often in slightly differentiated ways. Scientists identified that the procedure of self-actualization is a complicated phenomenon (Weiss, 1991), signifying that this noetic dimensioned process, contains multiple elements such as the procedure of an individual’s development, alteration, and transcendence, none of which are static over time (Rogers, 1961; Rule, 1991). In addition, Goldstein (as cited in Modell, 1993) remarked: "the tendency to actualize itself as fully as possible is the basic drive... the drive of self-actualization." (Goldstein, as cited in Modell, 1993, p. 44). Moreover, Rule (1991) rationalized that the individual’s objectives are "elements of a wider concept(s) of self" (p. 252) and contended that since human beings are progress oriented, they are likewise goal oriented. Therefore, he proposed a goal-oriented structure for the conceptualization of self-actualization, introducing a holistic perspective of the notion, on the basis of the Adlerian way of life concept (Mosak, 1989).

Eudaimonia (happiness) is related to the sense of self-fulfillment and the cultivation of a sense of awe (Rorty, 1980). Self-actualization is about raising above the Self, by serving a higher cause, which is the final end. The key idea in self-actualization is that of inherent objective – that of totally acknowledging intrinsic potencies and being all that one may be. Sahakian (1975) suggests that: “Aristotle is the founder of self-actualization psychology, providing the conception of the soul as the entelechy of the body… The person who actualizes himself fully, i.e., realizes his every major potential capacity or ability, is adjusted in the sense that he finds himself in a state of eudaimonia” (Sahakian, 1975, p. 9).

Numerous philosophers and scientists, from Aristotle to Maslow (1954) and Rogers (1961), consider self-actualization as a path toward eudaimonia. White, Denise, and Peterfreund (2008) remark that Maslow, akin to Aristotle, indicates self-actualization process as the ultimate accomplishment in an individual’s lifespan and remark that the desire for self-actualization is deeply rooted in psyche: "What a man can be, he must be. This need we may call self-actualization…It refers to the desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming." (Maslow, 1954, p. 93). Differentiated from Maslow (1954), Frankl (1992) asserts that only if the noetic requirement for self-supereminence is satisfied, may we attain self-actualization (self-fulfillment is a consequence of actualizing our pursuit to fulfil the ultimate purpose).

Eudaimonia in Sports [TOP]

With the insights gleaned from Aristotle’s concept of human function, wherein according to Anscombe (2000), every human action is efficaciously performed to constitute a desire or an end, Santas, (1996) remarks that as individuals adjust their behavior towards eudaimonia (which is the inspiring force that supports the formulation of activities, and interactions), sportsmen struggle against human imperfection to attain the divine ideal. Hence, toward their quest to happiness, several elite athletes frequently discuss about specified time periods, wherein they experienced an enliven, telic and uplifting feeling of skill mastery, mental happiness, enhanced self-esteem, a sense of intellectual enjoyment, transcendence, an ecstasy or euphoria state (Cooper, 1998; Jackson, 1995; Sugarman, 1998). As Murphy (1996) reports "It is a mystical and ... unique place wherein execution is outstanding and continuous, automated and flowing. An athlete is able to disregard every all the challenges and demands and enable his or her body deliver the execution that has been learned so well." (Murphy, 1996, p. 4). Thus, a mystical feeling exists, wherein sportsmen abandon self-conscious purposes and merely surrender themselves to the stream of their actions which often manifests itself in athletics as the phenomenon of flow, or the zone (Privette, 2001; Schmitt & Leonard, 1986).

Sports scientific researchers attempted to elucidate the potential nexus between self-actualization (entelechy) and happiness (eudaimonia) and begun to contrast these states to cognitive states such as peak experience, mindfulness, flow and the zone (Cooper, 1998; Csikszentmihalyi & LeFevre, 1989; Dornyei, 2009; Jackson, 2000; Stein, Kimiecik, Daniels, & Jackson, 1995; Young & Pain, 1999).

Whilst Aristotle may be deemed as a progenitor of the modern conceptualization of the flow state, a growing body of scientific research reveals that this specific state is highly correlated with the concept of eudaimonia (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997). Csikszentmihalyi (1990) who proposed that individuals are happiest when they experience the flow state, unveiled that this autotelic noetic state is experienced when an individual proficiently engages into a stimulating activity. In addition, Nakamura and Csikszentmihalyi (2002) identify flow as a state, wherein no time and ego exist; individuals are being completely involved in the activity, gliding into an evaluative mindset of absorption. In addition, Csikszentmihalyi, Abuhamdeh, and Nakamura (2005) remark that, this inherent inspiration is attained whenever an individual engages into an activity for the reason that he loves it; wherein a feeling of transcendence or connection to a greater whole is advanced, causing one to metamorphosize in a profound way. Albeit, Csikszentmihalyi (1990) specified that the flow state arises when demands are elevated and competencies are utilized to the uttermost. To support his justification, Csikszentmihalyi (1997) distinguished happiness from pleasure, by describing the pleasure state as an experience of fulfillment that an individual attains, once his goals and desires have been accomplished. In addition, happiness is a state that must be processed, organized, developed as well as protected by each individual. Furthermore, the positive psychologist pointed out that the sports engagement might lead to opportunities that encounter the flow state and consequently happiness.

In line with the above, Maslow (1970) delineates peak experience as a "tremendous intensification of any of the experiences in which there is loss of self or transcendence of [self]" (Maslow, 1970, p. 165). Hence, it may be assumed that the flow theory is an alternative path of understanding motivation. Subsequently, Huta and Ryan (2010) identified self-actualization (entelechy) and happiness (eudaimonia) as the catalysts for each human endeavor. Their research uncovered that eudaimonia relates to an uplifting state (implementing wonderment, transcendence and motivation), a feeling associated with oneself, along with a feeling of excellence. Henceforward, the flow experience in sportsmen is an essential element of welfare. Considering that it is likewise intrinsically fulfilling and that the more an athlete engages into it, the more he desires to re-experience these unique spiritual feelings, it may be proposed as an important feature in the athlete’s eudaimonia and self-fulfillment.

Moral Happiness [TOP]

Numerous philosophers as well as scientists affirm that the wish for eudaimonia is a widely accepted human impetus (James, 1890). Thus far, the essence of happiness continues to be one of the most elusive elements of all concepts to determine. Rousseau (1953) remarks that happiness is a mode wherein the soul is a simple feeling of existence and may establish in itself and focus on its whole being, whilst Freud (1962) asserts that happiness is some quality of mind or affective state, subjective in essence.

The assertion that happiness is obviously good, and is consequently the appropriate steering determinant for individual choices and actions, fades without an earlier awareness of what kind of happiness we actually imply; that is Eudaimonia (wherein happiness is a quest that comes from within) or Hedonia (wherein happiness is a destination and derives externally)v. Nussbaum (1994) asserts that in Epicurus’ thought, human beings are born with a complete potentiality to flourish, however this inherent capability becomes contaminated by the endorsement of socially determined criteria which expropriate the authentic structure of ideals, establishing a deceptive individual who becomes a bondslave to those culturally influenced degenerated emotional as well as mental states. Thereupon, in view of the ethical crisis ​​that our society (as well as sports society) is experiencing as a result from unrestrained pace of preferences and behaviors, meaningful individualistic cogitation as well as unified synergy is demanded. Likewise, the complicated and abstruse ethical concept of sports is part of the bigger social disintegration that is combined with an ethically corrupted culture. Sportsmen along with their trainers/mentors encounter several challenges in their athletic preparation towards success. The evident unethical crisis (i.e. doping) in elite level athletics as a consequence of elite level sports in contemporary culture, along with its winning at all costs philosophy, are critical features of corrupted ethical behavior. Ryff (1989) reported that scientific studies on mental as well as emotional welfare might have taken completely altered orientations, if the former scientists had examined the happiness theory with respect to the actualization of the individual’s potencies. Additionally, the latest research concerns on diverse facets of optimum psychological performance appear to be more consistent with the Aristotelian theory of eudaimonia (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Larson, 2000; Privette, 2001).

Entelechy on Coaching [TOP]

In the sports field, which is considered as a life’s microcosm, sportsmen engage into sports for different reasons, among which, the need to fulfil their unmet athletic prospective (Caron, Bloom, & Bennie, 2015; Kidman, 2005; Stec, 2011). Simon (1991) remarks that, sports competitiveness utopically, may be endorsed as a mutually accepted pursuit for excellence wherein antagonists collaborate to draw the best out in one another. Hence, successful athletic performance is the actualization of potential, which according to Aristotle (1980) is what is actualized, is the what is being built [oikodomeitai], along with the ability of the coaches, who are responsible for the process of building, what is being built [oikodomêsis] to create victorious outcomes (Aristotle,1980, pp. 201a16-18; cf. 201b5-15).

At the elite level of sports, athletes as well as mentors are concentrated mainly on attaining excellence through performance perfection (Kidman, 2007). Miller and Kerr (2002) remark that: “A fundamental tenet of the athlete-centered sports model is the enhancement of the holistic health and well-being of the athlete through the pursuit of excellence in sport” (p. 147) and propose that performance excellence may be accomplished through the utilization of an athlete-centered model of sports activity. Kidd (2006) remarks that within the athlete-focused framework, the athletes’ improvement is thought to be a vital sine qua non in the quest for excellence, whilst Vealey (2002) highlights that the utilization of this all-encompassing, holistic coaching methodology provides "an alternative to the restricted, unidimensional execution improvement model which has been utilized by numerous sports professionals in the past" (Vealey 2002, p. 299).

The Path Toward Eudaimonia in Sports [TOP]

As highlighted above, Aristotle (1984) is adamant that every human activity has a final end. In addition, the Stageirite philosopher claims that a hierarchy of ends exists, that aims toward the endpoint, which is the ultimate end (the human’s superlative good). In an effort to ascertain human behavior, Aristotle (1984) contends that individuals involve themselves into rational activities that catalyze eudaimonia (which the only intrinsically desired end). Moreover, Aristotle (1984) concludes that eudaimonia, as a process of psyche (which should be in concurrence with virtue), may be actualized by ethical activities. In consideration of the foregoing, we may conclude that both Aristotle as well as contemporary psychologists such as Csikszentmihalyi (1990), maintain that the construct of eudaimonia as a whole, is composed by individualized, intrinsically motivated, moral acts. Hence, an eudaimon (human being) should experience a well-lived life if he constantly engages into intrinsically driven tasks, experiencing the type of tasks that aim toward excellence.

Sports attitude is deliberately drawn toward amelioration wherein success as well as excellence is found within the athletes’ striving for victory. However, as eudaimonia (happiness) is not an attainment but a consequence that arises as an unintended response to the personal commitment toward success (the achievement of a goal), the most essential thing is the athletes’ enjoyment of the quest to victory itself (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Under the consideration that sportsmen are deliberately steered toward progression, we may determine a teleology of the sporting activities, wherein the desirable (for its own sake) end is excellence (which is actually the final end) that actualizes eudaimonia (which is the only intrinsically desired end). Therefore, an athlete’s practice toward excellence contains a specific structure; intrinsically desired engagement that leads to the successful accomplishment of a superior objective; which is constituted by a string of tasks as well as sub-aims. Once an athlete practices to attain a specific sub-aim, he desires to accomplish that specific sub-aim successfully- both for its own sake and in addition for or even due to its constituent contribution to his superior objective. The athlete’s final end is excellence which consequently actualizes eudaimonia (which is comprised by virtuous intrinsically motivated athletic endeavors that formulate the whole of eudaimonia).

Conclusion [TOP]

Under the assumption that the intersections between sports psychology and Aristotle’s soul consensus reveal a fertile however undeveloped, field for scientific research, the intention of the current endeavor was not to judge Aristotle’s eudaimonic considerations and dispute over its archaic authenticity, but to reassess Aristotle's soul insights on certain invariable or even inherent intellectual competences and their contribution to our athletic awareness toward the human good.

Hence, in expectation to discover the key elements of the athletic ideal and in addition to determine, under Aristotle’s syllogistic thinking chain, the athletes’ path toward eudaimonia, one need to envision the Athlete holistically, as a psyche/body system and in addition, to determine the way their (athletic) bodies may serve their souls’ entelechy (actuality); to discover which of their soul’s -athletic- activities (containing reason) are most presumably considered as the ultimate end.

In line of the above and under the lens of humanistic sports’ contentment, we may deduce that the Aristotelian theory is dynamically existent, with an emphasis on holistic practices which endorse the development of the fullest human potential as regards to physical activity.

Notes [TOP]

i) The contemporary consensus of happiness alludes to an all-embracing condition of experiencing rather ephemeral states of joy and in addition, fulfillment. Hence, this individualized as well as hedonic mindset of the human good, stands apart from Aristotle’s objective mindset of what the ultimate human good is. In the current article, the eudaimonia notion is defined as the humans’ highest good.

ii) In our examination of Aristotle’s idea of the intentional human actions we endorse the deliberation process and its practical syllogism structure, which illustrates the pattern of each purposive human action (Cooper, 1987).

iii) Refer to Irwin’s commentaries for the Nicomachean Ethics, VI, 2, page 239 and his interpretation for the meaning of the words “praxis” and “action”, on page 315, wherein the translator remarks that the notion of “praxis” may be utilized in an extensive sense to contain all kinds of actions (deliberate or voluntary), and that in addition it may it utilized in a constrained sense to involve only specific actions (which derive from deliberation and choice).

iv) As outlined above, for Aristotle, the entelechy (fulfillment) concept is vital. The power to select (prohairesis) is a psyche’s assignment; and psyche is for Aristotle the body’s first entelechy. For the reason that nous (the mind) is part of psyche, it is an element of fulfillment.

v) In the current article, it is assumed that the impending moral aspect of the happiness (eudaimonia) rises above the field of personal growth and triumphs over hedonism.

Funding [TOP]

The author has no funding to report.

Competing Interests [TOP]

The author has declared that no competing interests exist.

Acknowledgments [TOP]

The author has no support to report.

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About the Author [TOP]

Stavroula Roumpou has a PhD degree at South-West University "Neofit Rilski". She works at Directorate of Secondary Education-Argolida, under the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs in Greece.

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