Nichomachean Ethics: Character Analysis Of Aristotle's Life

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Aristotle is forceful in Nichomachean Ethics in describing, in great detail, various types of human character, which he labels virtuous, continent, incontinent and vicious. He offers an equally-detailed overview of friendship, reducing relationships of this sort to three main types: for pleasure, for personal advantage, and for the good. This paper will attempt to illustrate these concepts by applying them to a personal experience—in this case, my relationship of many years with woman who delivers my mail. Since it is a nuanced relationship, it serves this purpose well.

Aristotle passed firm judgment on various types of character. In brief, the virtuous individual is one devoid of selfishness and fundamentally altruistic; he or she in oriented
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Interestingly, however, Aristotle puts a premium on the notion of choosing free from even the most minimal of considerations of self-interest; the “kalon” (iii 7) is synonymous with virtue and the wellbeing of the community, and Aristotle is clear that even the bravery and virtue of citizen-soldiers is questionable because of their desire for glory and avoidance of shame; true courage lies outside of considerations of self-interest (“other states, five of them, are also called bravery,” iii 8). The continent individual is one who, while potentially prey to all sorts of intemperate impulses and desires, nevertheless displays discipline and wisdom in the way he or she allows appetites and impulses to be displayed; sometimes it is wise to allow productive impulses to be “let loose,” while at other times it is judicious to keep more questionable impulses tamped down. He is not “pained by the absence of …show more content…
The first is for mutual pleasure, though it does indeed consider the good of the other person in addition to one 's own sense of enjoyment (“it is only those in whom [loving] is found...that are lasting friends,” viii-ix). Personal advantage can also be said to consider to some extent the well-being of the other individual, though it clearly orients around understanding, reflection upon, and pursuit of gain and leverage outside the friendship itself—accruing to one party (“He must return as much as he has received, or even more…,”) viii-ix). Friendship for 'the good, ' reflects the highest ideal in this area—friendship between two virtuous people for altruistic ends that uphold the best of these individuals and the moral underpinnings of society (“In friendships based on virtue...complaints do not arise,” viii); both are concerned for each other 's good for each other 's sake and for the essential character of each (viii-ix). I would suggest that, in my own case, this was a friendship oriented around the good. There was mutual concern and pleasure, to be sure, but also a desire to uphold broad societal principles, manners, and mores (i.e. respect for authority, order, confidentiality, health and wellness, compassion, etc.). There was no real self-interest or attempt at advantage on other side, and yet—truth be told—the friendship would not have existed without

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