FINAL PAPER - 1 Caffrey Francis December 16, 2010 Dr. Felis...

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1 Caffrey Francis December 16, 2010 Dr. Felis M/W/F: 11:00-11:50 Aristotle Virtues of Character In Nicomachean Ethics , Aristotle focuses on his aim to find out the chief end or highest good for a human. Although Aristotle focuses on the highest good for a human which is happiness, every person has to find their mean with respect to their own abilities and circumstances. The highest good is an end in itself, unlike most ends that are only means to another humans end for pursuit of their ultimate goal. In Aristotle’s moral theory of virtues, he understands virtues to be central to a well-lived life. Virtues relate to the highest good by realizing our human potential in the fullest development and exercising reason in doing the best actions. Although I will be focusing on virtues of Aristotle’s moral theory, I will also demonstrate ambition as a virtue that is more fitting for the 21 st century than Aristotle’s ancient Greek values. A virtue of character is a person’s excellence in using reason to control their actions, desires, and emotions. Virtue is about behavior and about what people do. Therefore, it is about action. Virtues and vices of character are not a quality we have by nature, but developed qualities that we are responsible for developing. We are praiseworthy if we do all the virtues, and blameworthy if we do all the vices. We develop virtue not by habit but through consistency. A virtue is not a habit, but it comes about in us through the process of habituation. A virtue of character is a quality that becomes a virtue by finding out the mean. The mean is the highest good this is determined by reason as opposed to impulse. Consistently choosing the mean in matters of acting on
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2 the feeling of impulse helps a person develop virtues. Every virtue has to have at least two Vices. Vices are two extremes that are opposite from one another. For a person to obtain a virtue they must consistently use their reason to govern their actions, desires, and emotions enable for them to find their mean in situations. A person who has formed a virtue has developed something like a skill, an
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This note was uploaded on 06/09/2011 for the course PHIL Philosophy taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Oglethorpe.

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FINAL PAPER - 1 Caffrey Francis December 16, 2010 Dr. Felis...

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