Virtue In Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

Good Essays
Every capability and every action is a pursuit of some good. According to Aristotle, “Every craft and every line of inquiry and likewise every action and decision seems to seeks some good, that is why some people were right to describe the good as what everything seeks. But the ends that are sought appear to differ; some are activities, and others are products apart from the activities (Nicomachean Ethics, 1).” The goods that are sought out are the ends. Aristotle believed that an end was more complete if it was pursued for the sake of itself rather than for the sake of something else. He believed that happiness was the highest good for human beings. The highest good seemed to be happiness because we choose it because of itself and not for …show more content…
There are two kinds of virtue: virtue of thought and virtue of character. These virtues are qualities of the mind and character, which enable us to behave in the correct way and as a mean between extremes of deficiency and excess. They are not necessarily actions, but they ensure that our actions will be of the correct kind. When our actions occur naturally from a virtuous and moral disposition, we are said to live in agreement with virtue. A person’s excellence is based off their ability to live in agreement with virtue. Virtues of character/morality are habits, which can be improved or perfected. Each individual is born with the potential to be virtuous by character or morally virtuous. However, we must teach and train ourselves to be morally virtuous. This requires practice, just as any skill requires practice. We must coach ourselves to behave in the correct manner that we teach ourselves to be morally virtuous. Because virtue of character arises from habit, it is clear that none of the virtues of character arise in us naturally. It is evident that something cannot be done both by habit and by nature because we learn by habit what does not come to us naturally. By nature, we are able to acquire these virtues and through habit we are able to complete them. We first activate the virtues in order to acquire them. Then, we must habitually do the actions in order to be considered virtuous. For example: we

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Ethical Theory Of Virtue

    • 1636 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Virtues have moral value because their effects have value for humans. This virtue engages in our personal feelings more than the obligation virtues (Burton 225). It important to like the actions you are committing. Virtue ethics are also good because there is no room for failure “One is not necessarily a moral failure for being weak” (Burton 225) in a particular virtue area (social and generosity). This states that there is always room for improvement.…

    • 1636 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In particular, he believed virtue to be something that a person not only needs to understand but that a person also needs to live out in their actual lives. (Scarince, Christine). Most human activities shoot for something that is considered good. The highest good is something that you can easily determine by looking at its end purpose or goal. You could ask questions like: does it create happiness in and of itself?…

    • 1393 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Perseverance Definition

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Before perseverance can be described as a virtue, the idea of a virtue must be defined. Virtues deal with what is good and what is bad. A virtuous person follows society’s standards for what is good. This person exhibits behavior according to what is morally correct. And since virtuous people do virtuous actions it can be deduced that a virtue is a pattern of behavior that reflects moral character.…

    • 988 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Aristotle links the concept of happiness and virtue in saying that the most important factor in the effort to achieve this sense of happiness is to have a good moral character. He goes on to say that one must have this sense of complete virtue, meaning that it is not enough to have a few virtues but instead one must strive to possess them all in order to achieve happiness in the end. He says, “The happy person is the one who expresses complete virtue in his activities, with an adequate supply of external goods, not for just anytime but for a complete life” (Nicomachean Ethics, 10101a15). This quote backs up Aristotle’s argument in that happiness consists of achieving these virtuous actions not just at certain points in one’s life but throughout one’s whole lifetime. Aristotle goes on to say that life requires us to make choices, and some of them bring us immediate pleasure while others require some sort of sacrifice to reach happiness.…

    • 1658 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The utilitarianism is an ethical theory that states that morality is not based in the act itself, but by the consequences of the act, you should do the things that generates the most happiness, or the greatest good for the greatest number. The right decision is what Helps the most people as it is the greatest good for the most people. Its adaptable and can be used in different situations and still be able to make the right decision according to the theory. Doing actions that will result in the most good for the most people is the main component of the utilitarian theory. One question regarding this ethical theory revolves around what is happiness to the utilitarian?…

    • 1112 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Epicurus believed the community should not harm another to achieve pleasure. Also, Epicurus based his ethics from Aristotle’s teaching that the “highest good is what is valued for its own sake, and not for the sake of anything else”. He also agrees with Aristotle that happiness is the highest good. Although Epicurus based some of his beliefs on Aristotle’s beliefs, Epicurus’ beliefs are different and…

    • 1025 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Although all of our souls are not the same, Aristotle states that personal happiness is the goal of ethics that all human beings strive towards. He claims this due to the way we behave being directly related to virtue and vice. Happiness lies in the middle grounds of excess of virtue and excess of vice. By pinpointing this middle ground, the best action can be determined. Happiness is then a common ground for how to live a good life.…

    • 857 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    A Self-Sufficient Friendship Human beings have an intuitive sense when it comes to friendship. It simply seems natural to be in a virtuous relationship with another person. For Aristotle, the conversation deserves more than an assumption of the natural feelings in humans. He introduces the idea of self-sufficiency as a means of attaining happiness, however, there appears to be a contradiction when comparing this to the necessity of friends. He says they are both are required for happiness, but they seem to be fundamentally opposite.…

    • 1236 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Virtue is more of a mentality instead of an action. Someone who is virtuous is naturally designed to behave in a justified way for the right reason, and feels pleasure when behaving rightly. In order…

    • 2051 Words
    • 9 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Happiness, Aristotle argues, is a complete and sufficient good (Aristotle 's Ethics). This means that happiness is desired only for itself, that the sake of nothing else is the reason for desiring it, that it is without evils, and it satisfies all desire. In this logic, moral virtue is not the end of life, that for which all is aimed, since misery and inactivity may accompany moral virtue. Thus, happiness is the best good. To be complete, happiness is an activity which involves both moral and intellectual reasoning.…

    • 1645 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays