Concept Of Virtue

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In this essay I will critically discuss Aristotle’s concept of virtue. I will illustrate how he was influenced by his predecessors and how he disagreed with them and developed his own philosophy. I will also describe how he defined the concept of virtue – what virtuous traits are and also how to be a virtuous person. Aristotle was interested in the question of “How do I become a good person?” He thought that the question of “what makes an action good?” could be answered by knowing what makes a person good or virtuous. Good or virtuous actions could then be defined in terms of what a good or moral or virtuous person would do. Aristotle thought that the answer to this question was very simple – a good person is a person who has virtues (virtues are character traits, for example, honesty, generosity, bravery, courage, etc.). The majority of Greeks in Aristotle’s time would have agreed with this simple answer and accepted that this was the answer to the question of “How do I become a good person?” Aristotle was taught by Plato (who was taught by and heavily influenced by Socrates). Socrates and Plato had argued that no person knowingly does evil. If a person knows what the right thing to do is and who can distinguish between actions that are virtuous or that are not virtuous, then they will do the right thing because they know it is the right thing to do. They said that the person who does an evil action does it simply out of ignorance or they are mistaken about the virtuous or right thing to do. Plato thought there was “the good” which is a property that all good things have in common. This “good” is not part of physical reality but is internal and unchanging. It will always be the same and will always be good in Plato’s day an... ... middle of paper ... ...ned either by excess or deficiency. For example, too much bravery is too rash but too little bravery is being cowardly. He said we should look for a moral mean or average between each virtuous trait. This is not always easy but it is necessary to become a virtuous person. In conclusion, Aristotle disagreed with Socrates and Plato as he denied that humans are naturally drawn towards “the good”. He said that you can be a good person if you choose to do the right thing, if you choose to be virtuous. He categorised and defined sciences and therefore defined what virtue and ethics is and how to be virtuous. He also came up with the idea of the “moral mean”, for example, too much bravery is too rash but too little bravery is being cowardly. The most important thing he says is that you cannot just simply know what the right thing to do is; you have to do that right thing.

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