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Provide an example of a virtue and its vices.
- Courage - Virtue (mean)
- Cowardice - Vice (deficit)
- Rashness - Vice (excess)
Happiness, success, flourishing and fulfillment in life
What is the doctrine of the mean?
The idea that virtue is the mean
How does Aristotle feel about politics?
It is an aspect of the study of 'the good' as political science aims at securing the good/happiness for all of society. Not precise as what is good for one person may not be good for another.
What does Aristotle believe is the highest aim (telos)?
Happiness/eudaimonia is that to which all things aim
What constitutes a happy life?
A life that is utterly happy through out. Aristotle uses the example of Priam of Troy, who's life could not be considered happy as he died unhappy. Suggests that a life and its happiness can only be considered after death.
What does Aristotle consider the function of man?
- It is not nutrition or growth, as plants have this function also
- It is not the senses or perception, as animals have this function also
- Therefore the function of man must be reason as it is all that is unique.
Define passions, faculties and states of character
- Passions are feelings, such as anger
- Faculties are the experiencing of feelings, such as feeling anger
- States of character are what one does with their feelings, such as lashing out in anger
Virtue must be a state of character, as we can not be blamed for the way we feel or our experience of that feeling, but rather what we do with that feeling
Define moral virtue and intellectual virtue
- Intellectual virtue is identified as a kind of wisdom gained through learning
- Moral virtue, upon which Aristotle focuses, are the means between the vices, gained through habituation. It is a disposition aimed at achieving happiness
Do we become virtuous by behaving virtuously?
Yes and no.
- Yes, virtue is achieved through habituation. However other aspects such as a good upbringing are also neccesary.
- No, because anyone may accidentally behave virtuously. The difference is that virtuous people know that they are behaving virtuously, they choose to behave in this way for the sake of being virtuous, and this behaviour manifests itself as part of a fixed, virtuous disposition.
Outline Aristotle's thoughts on pleasure.
- Aristotle believes that a virtuous person gains pleasure from acting virtuously.
- We must use our reason to temper our desires for pleasure
- He believes that we are naturally disposed to one of the two vices, that which gives us pleasure
How do we best achieve the mean?
Aristotle suggests three practical rules of conduct: first, avoid the extreme that is farther from the mean; second, notice what errors we are particularly susceptible to and avoid them diligently; and third, be wary of pleasure, as it often impedes our judgment.
By being virtuous you are more inclined to choose to act virtuously