“So virtue is a purposive disposition, lying in a mean that is relative to us and determined by a rational principle, and by that which a prudent man would use to determine it. It is a mean between two kinds of vice, one of excess and the other of deficiency…”
Here Aristotle gives us an outline of his provisional explanation for virtue; where you would find virtue, and its dependency on the situation.
Aristotle argues that it is not a person’s actions that reflect their ethics, but it is infact that persons character that is a reflection of their ethics. It is said that a virtuous person is the product of the examples of virtue that person has experienced, this is their training. If a person experiences bad examples of virtue, their virtuous character will not develop:
‘We’re not born virtuous. Nor are we born vicious. Human being is ethical tabula rasa.’
Aristotle explains that the morals and virtues of a person are infact the development of the character of a person, that our viciousness and our virtues are development through training of character; tabula rasa, the epistemological idea that our knowledge comes from our experiences.
In accordance to the Doctrine of the Mean, virtue is the mean states of deficiency and excess. It is written that in finding the mean of virtue relative to ourselves, our character has to find the correct reason it requires. Aristotle introduces his idea of the Doctrine of The Mean, in his book, Nicomachean Ethics, book II. He starts with the analogy;
‘…Both excessive a...
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...elings, the act is still morally wrong. Christian and Secular ethics are similar as they both a relativist theory. Normative ethics is often contrasted with deontology and consequentialism, and Aristotle mentions frequently that the theory is not to be confused with utilitarianism, likewise Aristotle’s theory of the doctrine of the mean, contrasts with Christian and Secular theories. The doctrine of the mean morally justifies an action with the consequence, whilst Christian and Secular theories put the morality in the action. Aristotle’s theory is described as an absolutist theory, as the theory is about the end consequence that concludes whether an action is good or bad. The theory is also saying that some ends are actually absolute such as courageousness and honesty. The good of an action is relative to context; the day, time, culture which varies throughout time.
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