philosophy paper on virtue (Autosaved)

philosophy paper on virtue (Autosaved) - Jaci Shea Dr....

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Jaci Shea Dr. Felis December 13 th , 2010 Philosophy 101 Aristotle’s Virtues of Character Ethics, as viewed by Aristotle, is an attempt to find out a person’s chief end or highest good. This end must be final, or an end in itself, because many conclusions in life are only means to further ends and a person’s aspirations and desires must have some final object or pursuit. Such a chief end is universally called happiness. People have different meanings for this expression, so Aristotle finds it necessary to discuss the nature of happiness in order to gain a better understanding of what the term really means. For starters, happiness must be based on human nature, and thus must begin from the facts of personal experience. That means that happiness cannot be found in any abstract or ideal notion, like Plato’s self-existing good. It must instead be something practical and human. In order for happiness to meet these requirements, it must be found in the work and life which is unique to human beings. This is neither the vegetative life we share with plants, nor the sensitive existence which we share with animals . It follows therefore that true happiness lies in the active life of a rational being. In other words happiness occurs in the perfect realization and outworking of the true soul and self, continued throughout a lifetime. Aristotle expands his notion of happiness through an analysis of the human soul which is the element that structures and animates a living human organism. The human soul has an irrational part which is shared with the animals, and a rational part which is distinctly human. The most primitive irrational constituent is the vegetative faculty which is responsible for nutrition and growth. An organism that performs this function well may be said to have a nutritional virtue. The second layer of the soul is the appetitive faculty which is responsible for a
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person’s emotions and desires. This part is both rational and irrational. It is irrational because even animals experience desires. For example some dogs crave companionship and will lie at the foot of their master’s bed at night instead of sleeping alone because of this desire to be around other living creatures; they are social animals. However, the appetitive faculty is also rational since humans have the distinct ability to control these desires with the help of reason. The human aptitude to properly manage these desires is called moral virtue, and is the focus of morality. Aristotle also notes that there is a purely rational part of the soul which is responsible for the
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This note was uploaded on 06/09/2011 for the course ENG English 10 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Oglethorpe.

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philosophy paper on virtue (Autosaved) - Jaci Shea Dr....

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