Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics

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Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics explores the idea of an ethical framework based on virtues, deliberation, and choice. The key to being virtuous is to strike a balance between the extremes on either side of a virtue. Arriving at what constitutes as a virtuous balance is achieved through the process of deliberation and then action. Sartre and the existentialists say that existence precedes essence; the good starts from human subjectivity rather than from known virtues. Through a person’s choices, they determine what is good. Though their theories of what constitutes the good may differ, choice is a key element of both ethical frameworks. The differences that each ethical framework has about what the good is are not mutually exclusive. In…show more content…
Aristotle says that the object of rational wish is the end, i.e. the good or apparent good. In this he means that the object of all action, choice, and deliberation, is to achieve what one thinks to be good, though not always being so. This is where the difference between Aristotle’s and Sartre’s views on choice differ the greatest. For Aristotle, the good already exists and the choices one makes either align with it or not. For Sartre, a person’s choices determine what the good is and therefore is always in alignment with the good. What this comes down to is whether morality is predetermined and universal or undetermined and relative. Aristotle believes that the good man is able to see the truth of what is noble and pleasant. In this, what the good man considers to be apparently good, aligns with what is actually good. Sartre does not believe that there is a concept of a good man. Man chooses what he wants the good to be. Aristotle says that since we have the ability to choose to act or not to act in situations where our actions would be either noble or base, it is in our power to be virtuous or vicious. So if lacking ignorance, a man knowingly does what is unjust, he is an unjust man and of bad character. Therefore, a man is of good character if he is not ignorant and knowingly does noble acts to achieve a good end. Aristotle says: “With regard to the virtues in general we have stated their genus in outline,
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