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Aristotle Virtue Ethics

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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 Plato, who believed that living well involves multiple higher forms to which we can't observe, Aristotle believed that there was just simply living well, and disregarded distinctions between what is morally good and what is good for an individual person. After studying other opinions of what it is to live well, Aristotle concluded that the ultimate human end is happiness. He had two reasons for regarding happiness as the ultimate good. The first reason relates to its completeness. For Aristotle, happiness is the ultimate intrinsic good. In other words, happiness has value within itself, and is not a mechanism to attain anything else. The second reason relates to its self-sufficiency, in the sense that once we have happiness, we do not desire anything else. Happiness does not need supplementation from other entities.

Claiming that happiness is the ultimate human end, Aristotle knew that he must specify what happiness actually consists of. He went about explaining this by the composure of what's known as the function argument. This argument proposes that the good for any form of life can be determined by finding out what its primary function is. Its good will consist in its fulfilling its function. Therefore, if we can find out what the function of a human being is, then we can discover the ultimate means to achieve this function. 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

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