Aristotle believed that virtue is a function of the soul that guides every action of an individual. Thus, every action illuminates the discretion of an individual to act freely the chosen disposition. Since every human has a soul and virtue is its activity, can we classify every action as virtuous action? In Nicomachaen Ethics, Aristotle examined the inter-relations among the purpose of every human action, virtues, and vices in the achievement of happiness. Aristotle believed that the supreme good is the ultimate goal of every human endeavor. It is happiness but relatively defined; vulgar men associated it with pleasure while people with refined character ascribed it to honor. For instance, if you are a behest pianist then, you are good in playing piano for you are functioning well. The well-performance of your function creates happiness not only for yourself but also for the others, thus, giving you a unique identity. In the same line of reasoning, soul is an aspect of humans that differentiated them from the rest of the animals. Moral Virtues The product of teaching is the intellectual virtue while moral virtue resulted from the habit. For if all men are naturally born good or bad, adept or inept in certain skills, teachers have no sense at all. Since it is through training, virtues are acquired; training then at very young age can mold virtuous personality. Conditions for the Conduct of Virtues Just and temperate actions are done by a man who has the sense of justice and temperance. Hence, knowledge on virtues is not enough to become virtuous; rather, the disposition to put virtues into actions is a must. It is common sense to us, for example, that insufficient food and water taken into the body results to poor nutrition while a balanced diet ensures good health. Since wrong doings are committed due to pleasure and noble character is avoided due to pain, pleasures and pain then are subjects of every virtue. Feelings of pains and pleasures or passions, and the knowledge on good or bad are not virtues for virtues involve modes of choice. In addition, we naturally have faculties and desires. The deficient and excess among the activities that give pleasure or pain is a vice while moral virtues lie in between of these deficiency and excessiveness, hence, the mean. Also, an extreme of a particular activity can be closer to its mean such as in the case of courage; courage is more of rashness than cowardice. It is only through the aid of our practical reason that we may determine the mean in a particular situation. Happiness then is not achieved unless one acted in accordance with his virtuous dispositions. Since actions are the concern of moral virtues, the attributes then of which should be examined. The Nature of Actions The nature of actions was classified by Aristotle as voluntary, nonvoluntary and involuntary. This also satisfies the conditions that Aristotle believed are necessary for virtue: knowledge, volition, and doing. On the other hand, if an individual was forced for a certain action, although seem involuntary, he is still responsible for that action for he has a choice for not doing. Meanwhile doing things because of ignorance is involuntary if at the end, one recognizes ignorance while failure to do so, makes it nonvoluntary. For instance, if a drunkard is addicted to liquor due to inability to discern virtuous things, the person then is guilty of ignorance and the action is nonvoluntary. If at some point of time, the person realized his ignorance, the action then becomes involuntary. With these, only ignorance can excuse an action to be called a vice but has limitation. If after realizing virtuous things, the person has continued to be a drunkard, then the action is voluntary and he is therefore vicious. Conclusion For Aristotle therefore, virtues are dispositions that acted in accordance with the doctrine of the mean towards the attainment of happiness. Happiness can not be achieved by merely just having or knowing virtues, rather by putting virtuous dispositions into actions. Thus, virtue is an active condition that makes one apt at choosing. October 21, Anthony Matias Abstract The research statement and motivation that will be analyzed…. Hemingway has a distinct writing style in a sense that he chooses his words carefully.
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