Of God and His Creatures

As there is a difference between the work that a machine is theoretically capable of doing, and the work that under actual circumstances can be got out of it, -- one such circumstance being, e.g., the strength of the stoker's arm; -- so there is a difference between the happiness that man is absolutely capable of and the happiness that he can attain relatively to the conditions of this life. None knew better than Aristotle how far the latter grade of happiness falls short of the former. He would therefore fall in with all that has been argued about happiness in this chapter, except with the conclusion implied in the fourth argument. Even that argument is borrowed from Aristotle, who is said however to have made it matter of lamentation, not of hope. The Aristotelian text holds out no hope of everlasting and perfect happiness for the human soul after death, -- as Plato in two places (Phaedo, 114c: Phaedrus, 248c) does for the departed soul of the philosopher.

Of God and His Creatures: 3.48