I understand that the Aristotelian end is something like the goodness of overall society and humanity for everyone, everywhere. And that it judges morality of an action, in relation to this grand 'end'. However, I think it misses something.
Does it imply that someone devoted to some grand end, would then be okay committing smaller transgressions? Given that they serve an end?
This whole line of questioning, of whether the ends justify the means, could be solved by going back to where Plato and Aristotle overlap.
Plato was generally about making the 'lower' serve the 'upper' components. In terms of a person, a lower drive like hunger, anger, etc. serve a higher purpose...like living as a good human being. So sometimes a good human being needs to be angry or really focus on hunger.
Aristotle added the helpful idea that we should be focused on good overall purposes, but misattributes morality to the goal. Morality is actually based on the drives.
Aristotle was trying to expand upon this by saying that you needed to judge the "purpose" so if the goal is "to a good human being", then that was a good goal and the things done to do that are good. However, if the goal was "to be a destructive whose sole purpose was to damage and hinder the good", then that was bad and so the things done for that are bad. Then there are virtues that follow from these ideas.
I think they end up saying the same thing, but with small local variations. Local variations meaning, in very contrived situations, they might conflict.
I would like to look at the whole, where they overlap, because I think that points us to the part that is redundant and humanly "true?"
Both would result in someone having good virtues.
Both actually say that the human aligns with a universal good. Plato's high and low are determined by some sort of externally defined yardstick. Aristotle's good end or bad end, are similarly determined by something outside the person, except he says that it is humanity because humans are social and all good or bad has to be in relation to humanity.
Both have a sense of fit purpose or measure or appropriateness of use. Plato talks about how something has a place or not, but as it serves a purpose. Aristotle talks heavily about how specific actions are devoid of being good or bad. Aristotle calls it temperance. Plato does not define it. My limited understanding of Tao seems to talk about it.
What are the points of Plato compared to reading Aristotle?
Plato gives you tools, and Aristotle can help you progress faster by identifying goals, but you still need to do the emotional work as defined by Plato. Also, I don't think Aristotle has all the goods defined or defined correctly. Plato's approach highlights the internal work and internal drives. These, I think, when understood can produce or will naturally produce good in the world. I think it is horse before the cart to look at Aristotle's virtues or at the very least, not as valuable for a practitioner. Aristotle can accelerate that process by helping identify when you're hitting some goods, but you still have to do the work. Aristotle talks about what good values might look like and identifies those, that's good, but Plato as well as some Stoic philosophy (Aurelius), gives you a sense of the tools that a person can use to achieve those goals. The Yogasutra (Yamas and Niyamas) talk about the higher and lower.
I'd be interested in reading more about Tao and Buddhism, especially, but I am thinking that it is similar.