Midterm: What is Virtue?

Topics: Virtue, Euthanasia, Ethics Pages: 3 (1675 words) Published: October 21, 2014

Aristotle describes virtue as balance between vices. (Nic. Ethics, IV 2). By being truly virtuous, that means one has reached ultimate perfection. The question is, can someone be virtuous? If being truly virtuous means one is perfect, many religions such as Christianity refutes the idea of a being having the ability to be perfect without being God. There are large issues that make one question how one can be virtuous, what path to take and discovering how that decision was made in the first place. This essay will discuss the idea of virtue and how it relates to the controversial topic of euthanasia. The debate on whether or not virtue is inborn or acquired is as complex as the nature versus nurture and even the which came first, the chicken or the egg? To understand how one can get to be so virtuous, one must decide whether or not they were born with the virtue or had grown and been taught into such virtue. But it is much more complex. “... Moral virtue is a state of character concerned with choice and choice is deliberate desire…” (Nic. Ethics, Book IV 2). This means that ultimately when faced with a decision, one will choose whichever is subconsciously more desired. If this decision is subconscious thought then this would prove that the virtue of the person is inborn, meaning since day one this person was virtuous. When a child misbehaves by not sharing a toy, by Aristotle’s standpoint this shows the child is being unvirtuous and therefore has no inborn virtue. But as the child grows and they are taught that sharing is caring, they begin to act in a more virtuous way, thus making acquired virtue the way to be virtuous. But what about all those psychopathic serial killers out there? Children born with no empathy are unvirtuous for not caring about their behavior or showing forms of generosity. These children were like this from birth. Of course learning about the psychology of people is fairly new compared to the ideas Aristotle published. The way one...


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