Aristotle Virtue Ethics Essays

807 Words Jan 2nd, 2006 4 Pages
Aristotle's Virtue Ethics

The philosophy of virtue ethics, which primarily deals with the ways in which a person should live, has puzzled philosophers from the beginning of time. There are many contrasting interpretations regarding how one should live his or her life in the best way possible. It is in my opinion that the Greeks, especially Aristotle, have exhibited the most logical explanation of how to live the "good life". The following paper will attempt to offer a detailed understanding of Aristotle's reasoning relating to his theory of virtue ethics.
In order to explain the fundamentals of Aristotle's Virtue Ethics, one must acknowledge his primary motive in this study, which is to understand what it means to live well. Unlike
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To find out what the function of a human being is, Aristotle looks at what is distinctive about humans. He discovers that the good of the human is to act in accord with reason well, which can translate into acting in accord with virtue. One cannot have happiness without virtue, just as it is impossible to be virtuous with the absence of rational thinking. Because man is a rational creature, rather than plants which are vegetative, happiness for man must include the excellent functioning of the rational faculties.
Aristotle found that there are two kinds of virtues of the soul. First, there are virtues of thought, such as wisdom. Next, there are virtues of character, such as generosity. The main focus of his virtue ethics lies in the virtues of character. Aristotle assumed that these virtues are learned through habit. For example, whereas intellectual virtue may arise from reading a book, the adoption of virtuous character is inherited solely by practice. Therefore, it is through a person's upbringing that moral virtues are cultivated, and it is through the habit of thinking virtuously that one can excel towards happiness.
It is important to note that virtue not just a matter of behavior. If someone performs an act of generosity but is pained by it, then he or she is not really generous (does not really possess the virtue of generosity), and has not really acted generously. This can be deceiving at times, because it is easily disguised from the…