Aristotle's Definition Of Virtue In Nicomachean Ethics

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What does Aristotle define as virtue in N icomachean Ethics? It is stated in the text that “ Virtue, then is a state that decides, consisting in a mean, the mean relative to us, which is defined by reference to reason...,”1 (NE II.6 §15) to properly understand this quote and what Aristotle means by it, we must also understand that Aristotle distinguishes between two different forms of virtue. Said virtues are virtues of Character and virtues of Thought. Firstly, virtues of Character are “those that pertain to the part of the soul that cannot itself reason but is nonetheless capable of following reason”2 . Meaning said virtues are those which pertain to ethics and the character of the person. Think of it this way, virtue of character preserves …show more content…
It’s only possible through a virtuous character. Like mentioned earlier, virtues of character pertain to ethical practices. Once our virtue becomes a form of nature to us, they form our actions and decisions. They are deeply rooted because they define the way we feel pleasure and pain. If we have been habituated to feel pleasure and pain the right way, then those attitudes become second nature to us. The way that this ties into virtue and acting virtuously is because acting virtuously is not the same as being virtuous, but being virtuous is the means to becoming virtuous. It’s all about what’s at the root of habituation, and that is …show more content…
What we do know is that all humans have capacities, we can feel it, it’s within us. Our capacities are actually that nagging feeling deep within us that inform us of if an action is right or wrong - this is where virtue resides. As I had mentioned in passing previously, the vices are quite important when referring to virtue. The vices affect individuals’ actions and decisions in a more broad sense but, through that they affect human nature as a whole. What are vices? Vices essentially are what one obtains when they either fail to reach or completely overshoot the mean virtue. For example, I will once again use the action ‘fear’. If one were to fail to reach the mean via the emotional action ‘fear’ they would receive the term rash. However, if one were to overreach the mean via the emotional action ‘fear’ they would receive the term coward. These capacities, with the help of the vices are what motivate and push us in the right or wrong direction for one to practice and achieve character virtue.
Thus far, we have learnt that through virtue of character principle is preserved whereas vice corrupts it. Simply put, virtue is all about pleasure and pain in addition to, or as a response to our actions and feelings. It is also known that although we’ve talked about ‘study’ in the context of learning, in the end it leads us to wisdom - “which studies eternal and necessary truths concerning nature and reality...”(NE

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