An Ilustration of the Concept of Virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics Essay

An Ilustration of the Concept of Virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics Essay

Length: 1222 words (3.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Virtue is a concept which cannot be explained easily: it embodies many different properties and depends on many variables, such as social context, historical period, religion. Aristotle has given is own account of virtue in his ethical system, describing it as the way to reach the best life possible. The aim of this essay is to give an illustration of the concept of virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics, but before two specifications are required.

The word used by Aristotle and generally translated as “virtue” is “arete”. Translating a text from a language to another is never easy, especially philosophical texts, especially from extinguished languages: in fact, some scholars, as Urmson1 or Meyer2, prefer to translate it as “excellence”. This different translation stresses an important gap between the 21th century AD and the 5th century BC: nowadays, in fact, the concept of virtue is heavily influenced by the Christian tradition, completely extraneous to Aristotle's view. For example, the magnanimous man, who is “worthy of the greatest things”, who “is the best person”3, is a “very different person from the Christian saint”4. Thus, this essay will adopt “excellence” instead of “virtue”.

Another key concept that requires particular attention in the translation is “eudaimonia”: traditionally, it has been read as “happiness”, but “flourishing” can be a translation more faithful to the original meaning attributed by Aristotle because it includes the fulfillment of human potentiality in every aspects. In fact, it is not just an inner condition, but it is also shown and expressed in relation with the world: it is obtained with bodily excellence, excellence of character and excellence of intelligence. Bodily excellences will not be discusse...

... middle of paper ...

...conditions required are present: activities subordinated to it, as the political ones, must not be impeded21.

However, the ethical system of Aristotle was not spared from criticisms22. With the appearing of new form of normative ethics, namely utilitarianism and deontology, the virtue ethics was accused to lack universality. Not only it does not provide, according to critics, universal codes, but it seems also unable to provide a useful guide to act rightly and it does not provide any satisfactory answer to any moral dilemma which put two virtues in contrast. Also, when virtues are considered in relation with the final end of eudaimonia, the risk is that they are reduced to a form of mere self-interest23. These objections have been refuted by modern virtue ethicists: the debate is still open, as the issues brought to light by Aristotle are still of vivid importance.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics : Virtue Essay

- Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics discusses virtue as a disposition to act in a manner that is a mean between excess and deficiency. In the following, friendship will be shown to be a virtue by explaining the different kinds of friendship. Beginning by understanding what a virtue is for Aristotle will show that friendship is a desirable state of character and help prove it is a virtue. By contemplating the value of friendship and it’s importance to the moral good of human action, the paper will show that friendship is a virtue....   [tags: Virtue, Friendship, Happiness, Nicomachean Ethics]

Strong Essays
1652 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Virtue and Happiness in Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics

- In consideration to Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s view of the great-souled man is that of an individual that represents happiness and obtains the five virtues: wisdom, justice, bravery, self-control, and the overall goodness within an individual (happiness). The magnanimous person is very complex and displays the proper virtues at the proper time, and in the proper way. In addition, the great-souled man accommodates to his surroundings where he is honorable but not boastful in his actions. Aristotle believes that it is only possible to attain happiness within a political organization because happiness represents living well without being concerned with others, they solely live for the trut...   [tags: Nicomachean Ethics Essays]

Strong Essays
1147 words (3.3 pages)

Virtue Is A State Of Character Essay

- Alristotle: Virtue and Happines “Virtue, then, is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e., the mean relative to us, this being determined by a rational principle, and by that principle by which the man of practical wisdom would determine it (...) Hence, in respect of its substance and the definition which states its essence virtue is a mean, with regard to what is best and right an extreme.” (Perry, page 555). A very famous Greek philosopher named Aristotle wrote a book called Nicomachean Ethics, were he relates happiness with virtue and defines virtue as a state of character concerned with choices....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue ethics]

Strong Essays
1119 words (3.2 pages)

Aristotle 's Views Of Virtue And Happiness Essay

- Is an action choice worthy for its own sake only if it would be a worthy choice, whether or not it served further ends. How, then, can such virtuous actions be choice worthy for their own sakes. This research paper will examine Aristotle’s views of virtue and happiness based on his Nichomachean Ethics. The Nicomachean Ethics was the first book written on ethics that was meant to teach us on how to be virtuous. Aristotle assumes that all of our actions should be aimed toward one ultimate end, and that is for the highest good....   [tags: Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue, Morality, Ethics]

Strong Essays
1631 words (4.7 pages)

The Concept Of Virtue Ethics Essay

- Engineers, per the Merriam-Webster dictionary, are “persons who design, build, or maintain engines, machines, or public works.” Despite the literacy of the definition, engineers are humans by nature, and humans, are the key ingredient to humanity. Humanity is a word derived from the Latin word ‘humanitas’, which stands for human nature and kindness. Therefore, an engineer is not solely accountable for the ability to design and build, but rather, an engineer has the obligation to his/her own moral compass in the greater purpose of attributing to humanity....   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Virtue ethics, Prudence]

Strong Essays
1194 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on The Ethics Of Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics

- Word Count: 703 In Nicomachean Ethics, one of Aristotle’s aims is to convince us that the good for humans is engaging in rational activity virtuously. It is important to note that, within the context of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, acting virtuously is defined as acting on the intermediate or most reasonable option between extreme actions and feelings (class). Function is defined as being a characteristic work of the specific thing or being in question, such as human beings. Aristotle also accepts the idea that well-being (or happiness) is the ultimate good (1097b, 20)....   [tags: Human, Reason, Nicomachean Ethics, Virtue]

Strong Essays
703 words (2 pages)

Why Aristotle 's Virtue Ethics Essay

- Explaining Aristotle 's Virtue Ethics In Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics, the basic idea of virtue ethics is established. The most important points are that every action and decision that humans make is aimed at achieving the good or as Aristotle 's writes, “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at the good... (Aristotle 1094a). Aristotle further explains that this good aimed for is happiness. For Aristotle, happiness is defined as “an activity of soul in accordance with complete excellence......   [tags: Virtue, Ethics, Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics]

Strong Essays
1636 words (4.7 pages)

Essay on Comparing Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics

- In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics we are given the Greek term Eudaimonia, its definition being a contented sate of being happy, healthy and prosperous. For Aristotle, Eudaimonia or happiness is our ultimate goal. Aristotle states that most people see happiness as something physical and this way of thinking is faulted because we do not have the appropriate image of a good life. He goes on to tell us that our view is faulted because most people are not virtuous. The reason for the deficiency in virtue found in society is that people are not thought virtue correctly from a young age....   [tags: Virtue, Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle, Human]

Strong Essays
1249 words (3.6 pages)

Aristotle 's Nicomachean Ethics The Topic Of Eudaimonia Essay

- Eudaimonia In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics the topic of eudaimonia comes up in various different ways. This paper will focus on what it means to say that virtue is necessary but not a sufficient condition for eudaimonia. This paper will attempt to show that the claim that virtue is necessary but insufficient for eudaimonia. For something to be necessary but insufficient for another thing means that it must be present in order to achieve the other thing, but its presence doesn 't guarantee that other thing....   [tags: Virtue, Nicomachean Ethics, Ethics, Friendship]

Strong Essays
1385 words (4 pages)

Nicomachean Ethics: Ruminations on Virtue Essay

- ... There are two different categories of virtue: intellectual and moral. Moral virtues can only be learned through experience, the individual must learn these types of virtues by observing them in others complete acquisition after practicing the observed behavior and then repeating it. Intellectual virtues, are explicitly instructed to us, (e.g. laws, rules) and full acquisition of these virtues requires both time to pass (to become intellectually prepared to understand the meaning) and experience....   [tags: aristotle, , reasoning, humans]

Strong Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)