The virtue of ethics as define by Aristotle in its simplistic form is to discover the nature of human happiness. Happiness is the highest good and the end at which all our activities ultimately aim. The difficulty is that people don’t agree on what makes for a happy or good life, so the purpose of the ethics is to find an answer to this question. The answer is imprecise because practical circumstances vary a great deal when considering a person’s life as a whole. Aristotle defines virtue as a disposition to behave in the right manner and as a mean between extremes of deficiency and excess. However, there is no fixed rule to determine where the mean lies. We can look at one of the virtue related to money as a way to determine the mean. According to Aristotle, in giving and taking money the mean is generosity, the excess wastefulness and the deficiency ungenerosity. Virtue is acquired primarily through habit and practice rather than through reasoning and instructions. Aristotle’s conception of virtue as something learned through habit rather than through reasoning makes a great deal of practical sense because it is difficult to make an unpleasant person pleasant simply by providing reasons for behaving more pleasantly. We can only be good at something through constant practice then and only then can we appreciate what it is that we are good at. Ultimately for an action to be virtuous, whether we are giving away money or being courageous, a person must do it deliberately, knowing what he is doing, and doing it because it is a noble action. Finally, human beings should as a rule, avoid the extreme that is farther from the mean, notice what errors we are particularly susceptible to and avoid them diligently, and be wary of pleasure because it often impedes our judgment.
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