Aristotle: Ethics and the Virtues Essay

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Aristotle's ethics consist of a form of virtue ethics, in which the ethical action is that which properly complies with virtue(s) by finding the mean within each particular one. Aristotle outlines two types of virtues: moral/character virtues and intellectual virtues. Though similar to, and inspired by, Plato and Socrates’ ethics, Aristotle's ethical account differs in some areas.

Aristotle, a student of Plato, is known for his contributions in many fields of philosophy, ethics being one of the most prominent. He produced the first methodical and collected ethical system to be produced by an ancient Greek philosopher, found in his book the Nicomachean Ethics. This, along with the less-read Eudemian Ethics, are his ethical accounts that
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Eudaimonia is the goal of life (effectively meaning human flourishing). It involves using reason, which, as mentioned above, is what separates humans from animals. Eudaimonia cannot be achieved through a life of solitude, though, but rather through interaction within a community (particularly that of the city-state that was characteristic of Ancient Greece). Eudaimonia is accomplished by practicing and doing virtuous acts, which is why virtues are so important in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. A virtue is something that allows a person or object to reach/obtain its telos. The virtue of a blade, its purpose being to cut, is sharpness. Aristotle identifies the scales and levels of human actions and elaborates on how to cultivate them after having divided virtues into moral/character virtues and intellectual virtues.

In Aristotle's ethical system, virtues must be found between the two extremes of two states; this is one of the central concepts of his ethics. It is important within each state to achieve this mean, rather than one of the state's extremes. Aristotle elucidates this further by giving the example of courage as a virtue in Book III and explaining that to be on an extreme (whether cowardice or rashness) is not as virtuous as finding the appropriate mean (line 1115a6 - 1117b20). This mean, however, is not universal for all people in every situation. A warrior, for

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