Aristotle's Concept of Virtue Analytical Essay by Shaad

Aristotle's Concept of Virtue
A brief explication of Aristotle's conception of virtue
# 147124 | 808 words | 1 source | MLA | 2010 | BD
Published by on Feb 27, 2011 in Philosophy (Ancient Greek)

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This paper elucidates Aristotle's views on virtue as found in Book II of the "Nichomachean Ethics". The paper first shows how Aristotle distinguished between physical utility and virtue. It then shows how Aristotle arrives at the golden mean - the measured way between two extremes - and how this gives rise to the concepts of temperance and justice. The paper then discusses how virtue cannot be analyzed in rational terms, and that Aristotle does not aim to analyze virtue but only to provide a rule of thumb. The paper concludes that virtue is cultivated through activity, and shows the extent to which ethics and culture contribute in this regard.

From the Paper:

"Aristotle first distinguishes between a goal-drive activity and a virtuous act. When there is a tangible goal involved then we commend any effort that achieves it. But virtue cannot have a tangible object before it, for otherwise we could measure it through its utility. He goes on to consider utility, or the acquisition of physical goals, more thoroughly. Utility is not an end in itself; the ultimate motive of a physical goal is to achieve contentment or happiness. He gives us the example of acquiring strength and health. We must eat properly and take adequate exercise in order to have these. But excess of eating and exercise will spoil our health, just as will do the complete lack of them. If contentment is said to come through health, then it is achieved by pursuing a course between the two extremes of excess and lack. The same can said to apply to virtue, which is a goal beyond that of happiness or contentment."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Aristotle. The Nichomachean Ethics. Filiquarian Publishing, 2007.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

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