Aristotle's Concept Of Virtue

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The concept of virtue is complex both in theory and in practice. Philosophers have and continue to try and define it as well as offer advice on how to live a virtuous life. Aristotle states that the virtuous person feels the right thing at the right time. Contrastingly, Kant explains that the virtuous person is in the process of self-perfection and is bound to have affects. That mirrors Tangney et al’s theory that the virtuous person is guilt-prone and guilt, as well as other moral emotions, lead to virtuous actions. In Aristotle, Kant and Tangney et al’s accounts of virtue and emotion, each takes a different stance on what a virtuous person looks like and offer techniques for developing virtuous emotions; it is Kant’s writing, which accounts …show more content…
For Aristotle, the virtuous person has the right amount of the right emotions, for the right reason. He explains that the virtuous person also derives pleasure from acting virtuously. If one does not derive pleasure from acting virtuously, they are not a virtuous person. Moreover, he states that emotions are not virtues, but the degree at which you practice an emotion can make it a virtue. For example, he states that courage - a virtue - is the mean between fear and confidence. The excess of courage is rashness, as a man who is overly confident is likely to act rashly. The defect is cowardice, because the man who lacks courage is a coward. Aristotle also acknowledges that some actions are inherently bad and gives the examples of spite, envy and shamelessness. Aristotle was of the view that you are born neither virtuous or vicious, but you become virtuous or vicious as a result of your upbringing. He confirms this by explaining that one can become virtuous or vicious with …show more content…
According to Tangney, humans are either guilt-prone or shame-prone. She distinguishes between the two by explaining that guilt is a feeling that stems from a failure of behaviour where shame stems from a failure of self. Meaning, one feels guilty if you behaved poorly, but see that you can do something about it. One feels shame if they acted a certain way, but blame their character and don’t believe they could do any better. The virtuous person is guilt-prone as guilt is a moral emotion. When a person feels guilt, they are motivated to change and act morally. Moral emotions, Tangney explains, lead to moral actions. Alternatively, the shame-prone person feels worthless and like they are incapable of change and therefore justifies acting immorally. She cites studies that prove shame leads to anger, and consequently it leads to lashing out and acting rashly. This theory is comparable to Kant’s as both philosophers see the virtuous person as someone that is in the process of self perfection. However, Tangney’s work also has common-ground with Aristotle. She states that whether you are guilt-prone or shame-prone is dependant on your upbringing. Since she believes the guilt-prone person is virtuous and the shame-prone person is not, Tangney essentially agrees with Aristotle that one becomes virtuous or vicious depending on how they are raised. Tangney teaches that the virtuous person feels moral emotions, such as

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