Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics essentially emphasises the role of a person’s character and the virtues that a person’s character expresses in determining or evaluating ethical behaviour. Morality, in Virtue Ethics, tends to lie with the way in which a moral dilemma is approached, as opposed to the moral conclusions that are reached. Human beings possess either virtues (a positive excellence) or vices (an imperfection of character).
Eudaimonia is the supreme goal of human life according to Aristotle and everything in life has a purpose: to achieve Eudaimonia being a human’s, it is what is ‘good’ for a person. Eudaimonia is a state of action as opposed to inaction and an individual must work hard in order to achieve it. To reach Eudaimonia you must reason and be a thinker as this is unique to humans, it is the final cause for humanity as it is the most fulfilling position to be in. Reaching such a superior end goal requires hard work and effort: “man is a political and social animal” – the greatest good for a person is for them to actively participate in the politics of society and to interact with other humans, morality can only arise once these activities have been performed. A virtuous life is an ongoing task and can only be achieved through practice and education. “Eudaimonia is an end in itself” and is merely pursued for its own virtues rather than as a means to an end.
A virtue, for Aristotle, is a trait that contributes to a person functioning well as a human being such as bravery and generosity. A virtue is not doing one action on one given occasion such as giving to charity once and then never again, it is not ‘feeling’ virtuous as you are not brave if you feel brave and do not act upon it and it is also not a natural inclination as someone who has been born that way has not worked to become virtuous. Aristotle concludes that a virtue is a learned nature/tendency to reason and act in a certain way. We are each responsible for the choices that we make...
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