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explain aristotle's virtue theory

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Introduction

A) Explain Aristotle's Virtue Theory (15 marks) Aristotle was born in Macedonia 384 BCE. He founded his own school of Philosophy called the Lyceum and died at the age of 62 in Chalais. Aristotle has had a huge influence on many people since he has put forward his virtue theory. Aristotle began by saying that there is a purpose to everyone's life. He said that everything a person or group does is directed towards some kind of aim. Whatever we do there is a purpose, even though we may not see that purpose until after. He then said that the second purpose to someone's life is through superior and subordinate aims. E.g., writing your first ethics or philosophy essay is subordinate to obtaining your final a level degree. For Aristotle, the final aim is the good; not only the good for yourself but the good for all humanity. Thirdly, that supreme good for Aristotle is happiness or eudaimonia. ...read more.

Middle

Desiderate is associated with the desires that everyone faces. It is not food in general but a certain food such as a cheeseburger with onions and fries. These desires are wants and are not necessary for human survival. The virtues are at the heart of Aristotle's Theory. The virtue is so called because the qualities of mind and character are at the heart of his argument. There are two sorts of virtues; moral and intellectual. Moral virtues or qualities of character are connected to the desiderative irrational part of the soul. E.g. courage, modesty. They can only be cultivated through habit. Intellectual virtues or qualities of mind are connected the rational half of the soul, e.g. wisdom and understanding. They can only be cultivated through instruction. Aristotle also put forward the twelve moral virtues. He said that you can either be in excess of a virtue or deficient of it. For example, modesty is a virtue. Excess of modesty becomes shyness and to be deficient you become shamelessness. ...read more.

Conclusion

3. Judgement- in order for someone's judgement to be correct, they have to take into account what is right and just for everyone involved. 4. Cleverness- this is the last of the secondary intellectual virtues. According to Aristotle, we all have the potential to develop both the intellectual and moral virtues. We should try to steer away from either excess or deficiency and try to hit the mid way point. Friendship is the main aim of one's moral life, It is essential for Aristotle as if we did not have friendship then neither of the virtues that he put forward would be of any value at all. He said that there are three types of friendships- based on utility, pleasure and goodness. Utility friendships, which are useful to us, e.g. work friends, pleasurable friendships are where friends give us pleasure and in time the friendship will develop through feelings and emotions. The relationships are governed more by the heart than by the head. Lastly, perfect friendships. These are obviously of most value. Here the friend cares more about the other person than themselves. However, these friendships can only occur after quite a long period. ...read more.

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