A research on aristotle ethics

Aristotle ethics pdf

The inquiry into ethics is not built in this fashion; Aristotle asks about the way the various meanings of the good are organized, but he immediately drops the question, as being more at home in another sort of philosophic inquiry. The person who is weak goes through a process of deliberation and makes a choice; but rather than act in accordance with his reasoned choice, he acts under the influence of a passion. This is the type of justice or fairness of a good ruler in a good community. But what of the remaining three: science, intuitive understanding, and the virtue that combines them, theoretical wisdom? Here we are engaged in ethical inquiry, and are not asking a purely instrumental question. Aristotle's well-known function argument is less commonly accepted today, since he seems to use it in order to develop a claim about human perfection from an observation from what is distinctive about man. He draws this analogy in his discussion of the mean, when he says that every craft tries to produce a work from which nothing should be taken away and to which nothing further should be added b5— We will work through this thought in a moment, but first we need to notice that another kind of influence may be at work when you recall what Aristotle says about habit, and another kind of medicine may be needed against it. Aquinas' writings are full of references to Aristotle, and he wrote a commentary on Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. In particular, his Summa Theologica argued that Eudaimonia or human flourishing was held to be a temporary goal for this life, but perfect happiness as the ultimate goal could only be attained in the next life by the virtuous. He compares it to the life of a god: god thinks without interruption and endlessly, and a philosopher enjoys something similar for a limited period of time. Aristotle does not elaborate on what a natural state is, but he obviously has in mind the healthy condition of the body, especially its sense faculties, and the virtuous condition of the soul.

He might have done better to focus on the benefits of being the object of a close friend's solicitude. But the good is something that cannot be improved upon in this way.

Nicomachean ethics

Since virtues are very fragile, they must be practiced always, for if they are not practiced they will weaken and eventually disappear. Nor is it easy to see how his discussion of these five intellectual virtues can bring greater precision to the doctrine of the mean. Was not Jesus an extremist for love… Was not Amos an extremist for justice… Was not Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel… Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists. It is unclear what thought is being expressed here, but perhaps Aristotle is merely trying to avoid a possible misunderstanding: when he says that pleasure completes an activity, he does not mean that the activity it accompanies is in some way defective, and that the pleasure improves the activity by removing this defect. In other words, one must recognize what is good for the community and one must undertake a good course of action. Nevertheless, like Plato he eventually says that all the highest forms of the moral virtues require each other, and all require intellectual virtue, and in effect that the happiest and most virtuous life is that of a philosopher. Plato's Republic, for example, does not treat ethics as a distinct subject matter; nor does it offer a systematic examination of the nature of happiness, virtue, voluntariness, pleasure, or friendship. In Plato's Gorgias, Callicles argues just that, about food, drink, and sex. One common objection to Aristotle's function argument is that it uses descriptive or factual premises to derive conclusions about what is good.

The virtuous soul, on the contrary, blends all its parts in the act of choice. John's has thought about the kind of learning that does not depend on the authority of the teacher and the memory of the learner. Virtue manifests itself in action, Aristotle says, only when one acts while holding oneself in a certain way.

It is odd that pleasure receives two lengthy treatments; no other topic in the Ethics is revisited in this way.

aristotle virtues

Once we see that temperance, courage, and other generally recognized characteristics are mean states, we are in a position to generalize and to identify other mean states as virtues, even though they are not qualities for which we have a name.

If one chooses the life of a philosopher, one should keep the level of one's resources high enough to secure the leisure necessary for such a life, but not so high that one's external equipment becomes a burden and a distraction rather than an aid to living well.

A research on aristotle ethics

And since each enjoys the trust and companionship of the other, there is considerable pleasure in these relationships as well. One might like someone because he is good, or because he is useful, or because he is pleasant. The life of pleasure is construed in Book I as a life devoted to physical pleasure, and is quickly dismissed because of its vulgarity.

Aristotle virtue ethics

To keep such destructive inner forces at bay, we need to develop the proper habits and emotional responses when we are children, and to reflect intelligently on our aims when we are adults. By contrast, the impetuous person does not go through a process of deliberation and does not make a reasoned choice; he simply acts under the influence of a passion. This second habit is no virtue, but only a mindless inhibition, an automatic repressing of all impulses. This enables us to see how Aristotle's treatment of the intellectual virtues does give greater content and precision to the doctrine of the mean. His point, rather, may be that in ethics, as in any other study, we cannot make progress towards understanding why things are as they are unless we begin with certain assumptions about what is the case. Aristotle's discussion of pleasure thus helps confirm his initial hypothesis that to live our lives well we must focus on one sort of good above all others: virtuous activity. What principle should rule? In that case, the reasoning part of the soul is keeping the impulses reined in. Both treatises examine the conditions in which praise or blame are appropriate, and the nature of pleasure and friendship; near the end of each work, we find a brief discussion of the proper relationship between human beings and the divine. And supernatural assistance could help people to achieve virtue. Therefore pleasure is not the good b23— In fact, some regard his ethical inquiries as using a method that relies upon popular opinion his so-called "endoxic method" from the Grk. Among its most outstanding features are Aristotle's insistence that there are no known absolute moral standards and that any ethical theory must be based in part on an understanding of psychology and firmly grounded in the realities of human nature and daily life.

We thus have these four forms of akrasia: A impetuosity caused by pleasure, B impetuosity caused by anger, C weakness caused by pleasure D weakness caused by anger.

That is when it reveals most fully what it is: an added bonus that crowns our achievement.

aristotle ethical theory

It is not the result of what we call "conditioning.

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Aristotle’s Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)