Ethical Virtue and Nobility Essay

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Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, asserts that every ethical virtue aims at what is noble. In order to establish his definition of nobility, Aristotle takes the example of the virtue of courage. This virtue aims at what is noble, namely the common good, and this noble end is reached through courageous acts done by a brave man. There is a direct relationship between becoming good and loving what is noble. In order to become a good person, one must be conditioned to love what is noble and hate what is ignoble. This person will develop the proper character and be able to perform virtuous acts. One cannot become good without reverence for nobility. Furthermore, there also is a direct relationship between ethics and what is noble. Ethics …show more content…
The brave man in battle therefore exhibits the noblest and greatest form of courage. Aristotle goes on to elaborate the meaning of bravery. The man is in a healthy middle between cowardice and rashness. He is not fearless in every situation, as one might assume, but instead is the man who “faces and who fears the right things and from the right motive, in the right way and at the right time, and who feels confidence under the corresponding conditions” (EN III.7). Virtuous actions are done for their own sake, and so the same applies to the virtue of courage. The brave man works for courage as an end, which is noble. Therefore, the brave man acts courageously for a noble end. The concept of nobility becomes clear here. The brave man enters into a dangerous situation with a high possibility of death for the good of others. This self-sacrifice and aim for the common good is most likely what Aristotle had in mind when referring to nobility. As for how loving what is noble is connected to becoming good, a love for nobility is necessary to be able to do good acts and be a good person. No one is born good and development of the soul is required for a person to become good. In order to have people act in accordance to good, they have to be “cultivated by means of habits for noble joy and noble hatred” (EN X.9). In order to instill virtue, for most people force is needed and their good actions
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