Kant Vs Aristotle

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Despite several overlapping similarities between Aristotle and Kant on virtue ethics, there are fundamental differences between their view on the source of virtuous action. In this paper, I will argue, the underpinning behind each respectable view differs; as Aristotle believes virtuous action derives from choices lying in the mean whereas, Kant does not hold that virtuous action lies in the mean, but rather, holds they proceed from duty acting in accordance with universal principles. The fundamental difference presented is that Aristotle, through an empirical lens, believes an action is virtuous when it lies in the mean between extremes of excess and deficiency. Thus, virtuous action leads to a life of happiness, which is an “activity …show more content…
A virtuous individual does neither react excessively or deficiently rather, they find a ‘mean’, a middle ground to react moderately in any situation. This concept of, “a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean,” is Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean (2009, p.31). For Aristotle, there are two different forms of virtue; moral virtue which arises from habit and intellectual virtue which arises from experience (2009, p.23). Moral virtue expresses the pursuit of finding a relative middle ground, the ‘mean’. While, the intellectual virtue of practical wisdom (phronesis), defines the mean such as the appropriate action or correct amount of feeling. Furthermore, Aristotle employs an empirical method to formulate his theory on the source of virtues action. Through human observation in the physical realm, Aristotle claims, to conduct virtuous actions, one must make choices lying in a mean constantly in our daily life. Aristotle believes three conditions must be met, for an action to be virtues; one must have knowledge of what they are doing, one must perform virtue for its own sake, and the action must proceed from a firm unchanging character. Aristotle believes, if we abide by such conditions, our character would be best suited to live a human life, a life of happiness (eudaimonia). According to Aristotle, the source of virtues action is concerned with choices …show more content…
However, the flaw in this belief of similarity is that, Aristotle aims to define the best character in order to be virtuous whereas, Kant outlines not the ideal state to perform virtue rather, identifies the source of true moral value. Aristotle’s conditions state, an action must be performed for its own sake and an action must proceed from an unchanging character does hold similarities with Kant’s proposition of an action having moral worth when it proceeds from duty. On an abstract level, this similarity does have ground as an action has moral worth when it is performed for the sake of duty itself and regardless of inclinations, one will always act in accordance to an unchanging disposition towards duty. However, digging deeper into this similarity, it is evident that Aristotle and Kant hold their conditions/propositions in different light. Aristotle formulates his conditions to articulate his belief, for individuals to be virtuous they must adhere to his conditions, to live the happiest human life. The best character to be virtuous, is the one he defines and prescribes. Whereas, Kant formulates his three propositions not as an declaration of the ideal way to live rather, he identifies the source of true moral value to better understand what governs the good will, the highest vocation of

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