Nicomachean Ethics on Moral Virtue
Aristotle believes that virtue, or excellence, can be distinguished into two different types. One being intellectual virtue, and the other being moral virtue. Aristotle encompasses intellectual virtue as being philosophical wisdom, understanding and practical wisdom. He considers moral virtue to be of liberality and temperance. Aristotle distinguishes between the two types using his previous argument about the irrational element. Aristotle shows that the irrational element is comprised of a vegetative element as well as a desiring element, while the rational is separate from the vegetative. The point that Aristotle makes is that the irrational can be composed of subdivisions and each could have an impact on the other. The same idea is carried into his argument about virtue being distinguished into two types. Intellectual virtue comes from a sense, logical reasoning, or rational thought. The ability to understand and act in accordance with that which is held to be virtuous. Aristotle defines the split between intellectual and moral virtue in its perception of how it is obtained. Intellectual virtue is obtained through teaching requiring time and experience. This goes hand in hand with his definition for logical reasoning and rational thought. How can one distinguish between that which is considered virtuous? Since it is the person who must decide what is virtuous and that which is not, they must rely on life teachings to understand the difference. Aristotle claims moral virtue becomes a result of habit. Aristotle relates moral virtue with nature. Nature has a certain course of action, which must be followed. Anything contradicting the course of nature would be classified as non-uniform. Using the examples of throwing a ball. Its natural state is to come down and no matter how much you throw the ball up, it will never go against its nature to come down. Moral virtue arises in us from nature, it does not need to be taught...
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