Essay 01 - Olivera 1 Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor...

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Olivera Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor Bialystok TA - Jason Deroche Intro to Ethics - PHL275H October 19, 2011 Aristotle on Virtue The concept of virtue has a long history in moral philosophy. Cicero and Aquinas use the concept of virtue, the former being influenced by the Greeks, the latter providing a Christian theological perspective to the Four Cardinal Virtues. However, its first full exposition is offered by Aristotle. His book, the Nicomachean Ethics, is the first treatise ever written on ethics and should be practical; worded differently, the Nicomachean Ethics are meant to teach us how to be virtuous individuals and to understand what virtues are. While this essay seeks to present Aristotle’s account of the acquisition of virtue, virtue and happiness are first defined according to the philosopher in question to not only establish a context but to also present a comment on elitism, as seen in the conclusion. Aristotle believes some -and only some- individuals are able to attain virtue. This belief is analyzed before explaining whether virtue is sufficient for happiness, expounded through passages from the book in question. Finally, the essay concludes with an overview and a comment on Aristotle’s elitism. 1
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Olivera Aristotle’s beliefs are teleological in character in that final causes -or telos as defined by Aristotle- exist in nature, meaning that purpose is inherent in nature as well as in human actions. For the philosopher, these final causes can be present without any form of intelligence, consciousness or deliberation. Aristotle believes the telos of a seed is to be its adult plant under normal conditions -such as being planted in fertile well-watered soil. The telos of things in nature can be deduced through analysis. By looking at a papaya tree, one can infer the purpose of the tree is to produce papaya fruits. Reaching telos is good and that which is good allows us to live a better life. Therefore, it can be inferred that good is relative to function. Humans are not exempt from having a telos . The telos of humans is to be happy. Happiness is self-sufficient (Aristotle 1097b8-9) in that it isn't because of something else, e.g. man is not happy because he has money. Happiness is the highest good of humans (ibid 1095a 17-19). Happiness is a virtuous activity that fulfills our proper function; while such an activity brings satisfaction and pleasure, the telos of humans is not pleasure. Eudaimonia , roughly translated as happiness, is thus the complete good for humans. Such a concept can only be understood when defining virtue as a quality deemed to be valued but not present in human beings. The
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Essay 01 - Olivera 1 Diego Olivera 997801035 Professor...

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