A summary of aristotles notion of virtue

Unfortunately, this is something most people are not able to overcome in themselves. Other things being equal, the more virtuous the parties to the relationship, the more binding the obligation.

Much invaluable action guidance comes from avoiding courses of action that would be irresponsible, feckless, lazy, inconsiderate, uncooperative, harsh, intolerant, selfish, mercenary, indiscreet, tactless, arrogant, unsympathetic, cold, incautious, unenterprising, pusillanimous, feeble, presumptuous, rude, hypocritical, self-indulgent, materialistic, grasping, short-sighted, vindictive, calculating, ungrateful, grudging, brutal, profligate, disloyal, and on and on.

One might, Epicurus thinks, withdraw entirely from human society to avoid disturbance, but the alternative is to live socially under terms which secure the avoidance of disturbance.

That is, happiness depends on the cultivation of virtuethough his virtues are somewhat more individualistic than the essentially social virtues of the Confucians.

Aristotle's Ethics

But giving up the idea that practical wisdom is the heart of all the virtues, as Adams has to do, is a substantial sacrifice, as Russell and Kamtekar argue. These aspects coalesce in the description of the practically wise as those who understand what is truly worthwhile, truly important, and thereby truly advantageous in life, who know, in short, how to live well.

Abbott, revised and edited by L. At the end of the day, according to the exemplarist, our moral system still rests on our basic propensity to take a liking or disliking to exemplars.

Such ignorance in small children is rarely, if ever culpable. As Hume himself tells us, this seems to be arguing explaining in a circle, and Hume makes the same point perhaps even more forcefully about fidelity to promises.

For this reason, pleasure alone cannot constitute human happiness, for pleasure is what animals seek and human beings have higher capacities than animals.

Such love seems to be a matter of motivationally active feeling rather than of being rational, and some writers on morality eventually allowed this side of Christianity to have a major influence on what they had to say about virtue.

Harvard University Press, ; reprinted with a new preface, It is not clear, however, exactly how Aristotle understands this arrangement, or the nature of the vices of excess and defect which this particular justice is to counteract.

But it is a matter of some debate whether he should be read as a virtue ethicist White Eudaimonia in virtue ethics, is indeed a moralized concept, but it is not only that.

An honest person cannot be identified simply as one who, for example, practices honest dealing and does not cheat. On their view this is largely a matter of compliance with rules and institutions that enable people to live in harmony and flourish together.

All living things have a nutritive soul, which governs growth and nutrition.

Aristotle's Ethics

Nature of Ethics and methods of studying Ethics. One way of trying to square this circle involves seeing Hume as thinking of multiple levels at work in the explanation of actions flowing from the artificial virtues Sayre-McCord The goal of the physician is to produce a proper balance among these elements, by specifying the appropriate training and diet regimen, which will of course be different for every person.

For this one requires sufficient external goods to ensure health, leisure, and the opportunity for virtuous action. At the time, utilitarians and deontologists commonly though not universally held that the task of ethical theory was to come up with a code consisting of universal rules or principles possibly only one, as in the case of act-utilitarianism which would have two significant features: Gilligan argued A summary of aristotles notion of virtue her own studies of women's development indicated that the moral development of girls and women proceeds and ends in a different fashion from that of boys and men, but that that proves nothing about inferiority or superiority: At the same time, what the virtuous and just person sees, in inhabiting a social world with equals in moral standing, are the norms which have become associated with the liberal conception: Consider the following syllogism: However, once good relationships have given rise to obligations, those obligations take on a life of their own.

More importantly, perhaps, the conditions of a modern society leave us without strong ties of affection to many of the people we interact with or may affect by our actions, and Hume thinks that normal humanity or humane benevolence isn't a strong enough motive to get us to refrain from a theft that would greatly benefit ourselves or our families those we do have strong affections toward.

The apparent proliferation of virtues can be significantly reduced if we group virtues together with some being cardinal and others subordinate extensions of those cardinal virtues. In line with the theory of moral virtue Aristotle contends that to achieve these aims and reach eudaimonia, one of the most important lessons Aristotle teaches in the theory of moral virtue is strike a balance, or hit a mean between extremes in behavior, thought, and action.

For the same reason we cannot say that children are happy, any more than we can say that an acorn is a tree, for the potential for a flourishing human life has not yet been realized.

On the contrary, Aristotle argues that a truly virtuous person will naturally be inclined to behave appropriately and will have no need of rules.

Hume seems to assume the empirical issues bearing on such obligations are settled, in a way which forecloses moral critique. Pleasure accompanies and perfects our activities. Aristotle situates ethics within the discussion of the best constitution. A complete account of virtue will map out 1 its field, 2 its mode of responsiveness, 3 its basis of moral acknowledgment, and 4 its target.

Additionally, by using principles of both the intellectual taught or learned and moral virtue which becomes habit upon practice and imitation we must learn to make decisions that are right and just—not necessarily for our own personal benefit, but simply because we posses an understanding that something is the right course of action.

According to Hume, if I return what I owe to the seditious bigot, my only just motive is the desire to do what is right and obligatory, but, in that case, the morally good motive that is supposed according to Hume's virtue ethics to explain the rightness or goodness of returning what I owe to the seditious bigot already makes essential reference to the rightness or goodness or obligatoriness of doing so.

Analogously, it helps to read texts like the Nicomachean Ethics to get a clearer understanding of moral virtue, but the only way to become more virtuous is through practice. If we look at nature, we notice that there are four different kinds of things that exist in the world, each one defined by a different purpose:.

Aristotle argued that the vice of intemperance is incurable because it destroys the principle of the related virtue, while incontinence is curable because respect for virtue remains.

(Nic. Ethics VII 8) A clumsy archer may get better with practice, while a skilled archer who chooses not to aim for the target will not.

For Aristotle the mean was a method of achieving virtue, but for Buddha the Middle Path referred to a peaceful way of life which negotiated the extremes of harsh asceticism and sensual pleasure seeking.

In contrast, eudaimonia is a more encompassing notion than feeling happy since events that do not contribute to one's experience of feeling happy may affect one's eudaimonia.

Virtue Ethics

In summary, Socrates seems to think that virtue is both necessary and sufficient for eudaimonia. A person who is not virtuous cannot be happy, and a person with virtue.


Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics study guide contains a biography of Aristotle, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary.

Aristotle develops the notion of the mean, as we have seen, as part of his account of excellence or virtue. Excellence is preserved by the observance of the mean (a26). The best life for a human being, then, namely one which consists of "the active exercise of his psyche's capacities in conformity with excellence" (a), consists in.

Summary of the Meaning of The Theory of Moral Virtue by Aristotle

His fullest argument depends crucially on the notion that a friend is “another self”, someone, in other words, with whom one has a relationship very similar to the relationship one has with oneself.

“Contemplation, the Noble, and the Mean: The Standard of Moral Virtue in Aristotle's Ethics”, Apeiron, special issue Aristotle, Virtue.

A summary of aristotles notion of virtue
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Virtue Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)