Virtue: Ethics and Virtuous Life Essay

Virtue is the key to a meaningful and happy life. Harmonizing to ancient philosophers. Socrates and Aristotle. developing virtuousness is critical in order to take a successful. carry throughing life. Though both work forces differ in their readings of a “good life. ” they both agree that the supreme life is one of virtuous significance. Each of the philosophers have devised and implemented their ain definitions and guidelines to get and pattern a virtuous temperament. While it is agreed that cognition and pattern are the key to virtuosity. the philosophers disagree on cardinal regulations to follow.

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The built-in inquiry to be explored concerns the thought of virtuousness ; what is it and how does one get it? The reply is anything but simple. but a blend of both doctrines can cast visible radiation on the two men’s view on practising a virtuous life. Socrates and Aristotle believe in distinguishable terminals to a common mean. Harmonizing to Socrates. there are common patterns and contracts people enter into in order to populate in a society. A good life is inherently virtuous and. harmonizing to Socrates. there are certain regulations to follow in order to achieve virtuosity.

Socrates believed that virtuousness was cognition. His mission was to promote people to believe for themselves and therefore go more virtuous. One illustration of Socrates devotedness to regulations and ordinances is cited in the Crito. Socrates’ word pick including words such as “never” and “always. ” suggest after part. unbreakable regulations. “It is ne’er right to perpetrate unfairness or return injustice” ( Plato 89 ) . In Athens. Socrates believes. the Torahs reign supreme and harmonizing to the jurisprudence. Socrates was justifiably guilty.

Socrates was sentenced to decease based on a strong belief of a tribunal upheld by the Torahs. The conclusiveness of the determination of the Torahs vis-a-vis the tribunal became the concluding reply sing Socrates guilt and impending decease. When a companion of Socrates came to see him in prison with the hope of converting him to run off. Socrates stood house in his beliefs in the justness of the Torahs of the land. “Both in war and in the jurisprudence tribunals and everyplace else you must make whatever your metropolis and your state commands. or else carry it that justness is on your side” ( Plato 91 ) .

Socrates is house in his belief of the built-in goodness of the jurisprudence and he can non justifiably turn his dorsum on the regulations that he had antecedently based his life upon. Although Aristotle is found to hold with Socrates on the construct of five cardinal virtuousnesss and the importance of taking a virtuous life to be happy. when it comes to precise regulations in moralss he believes they do non be. While regulations were meant to use to a universe of “black and Whites. ” Aristotle saw the universe in sunglassess of grey ; palliating fortunes and purpose force Aristotle to reexamine each and every state of affairs separately before he can adequately specify one as virtuous.

Aristotle would reason with Socrates’ concluding in the Crito acknowledging that there are no precise regulations in moralss. While the regulations leave guidelines for peculiar fortunes. non everything is clearly defined by the jurisprudence. Due to these confusing variables. Aristotle chooses non to advance definite Torahs but guidelines to follow when analyzing a peculiar state of affairs on a individual footing. Aristotle’s belief that virtuousness can non be taught in a schoolroom is derived from his belief that it is a adept accomplishment.

He believed in analyzing all palliating fortunes to make up one’s mind if an act was portion of a virtuous temperament. Both work forces believe in the importance of a virtuous life for happier citizens and a thriving polis. but they take different attacks in educating the multitudes. While Socrates begins to oppugn everyone who believes they know anything. Aristotle regulations out anyone who is non a member of the opinion category. The two work forces emphasize necessity for a virtuous life. but Socrates encourages people to believe for themselves. He believes people who embrace their ain cognition will go more virtuous.

Aristotle caters merely to the elite. believing they are the lone people in society with the cognition and ability to pattern a virtuous life. While Socrates encourages people to go more virtuous by geting cognition. Aristotle merely explains how to go more virtuous to those who are already on the “right way. ” A virtuous life is a life worth life. Aristotle compiled ten different books in a bit-by-bit format to teach elect immature work forces in taking virtuous lives. The instructions begin with and accent on “the good for adult male.

” In this first book. Aristotle introduces the desire to populate a happy and hence. virtuous life. Harmonizing to Aristotle. “All human activities aim at some good” ( Aristotle 1 ) . This means that all activities worlds perform are means to a certain terminal. This is the foundation for Aristotle’s statements. He determines to specify the ultimate terminal and find the right manner to near it. Aristotle’s belief is that most actions are done for another ground than merely strictly to execute the act itself. For illustration. a chef prepares a repast to eat it if he is hungry.

He does non cook the repast simply to cook. but to fulfill his hungriness. Based on this line of concluding. Aristotle comes to the decision that the ultimate desire of adult male is happiness. “Happiness on the other manus. no 1 chooses for the interest of these. or. in general. for anything other than itself? Happiness. so. is something concluding and self-sufficing. and is the terminal of action” ( Aristotle 12 ) . Happiness is the ultimate terminal for Aristotle. and the staying nine books proceed to teach the reader in life lessons sing a happy life achieved through virtuousness.

Throughout Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle makes the statement that virtuousness is a average between two frailties. “Virtue is a mean. with respect to what is best and right an extreme. ” For illustration. if the two extremes were black and white. the mean or virtuousness would lie someplace in the grey country of the spectrum. The mean. nevertheless. does non ever lie straight in the centre of the two extremes. Courage would lie in the grey country between the extremes of cowardliness and heedlessness. However. because it is comparable to rashness. it would lie closer to that extreme than straight in the centre.

Aristotle’s statement comparing virtuousnesss to agencies suggests to the reader that rational idea is required in each and every state of affairs to find the true significance and ethical value of the fortunes. “Moral virtuousness comes approximately as a consequence of habit” ( Aristotle 29 ) . Although Aristotle makes it clear that there are no precise regulations. wont and pattern seemed to be cardinal in taking a virtuous life. Both Socrates and Aristotle agree that one must near a life of virtuousness through cognition and pattern. Socrates maintains that regulations are a necessary guideline to truly specify what is virtuous and good.

Definitions and regulations do non use to Aristotle’s way to virtuousness. However. the two work forces portion the belief that virtuousness is necessary to accomplish a happy and meaningful life. but their sentiments differ on the right way to nearing virtuousness. While Socrates is more conservative in his values. ne’er striving from the words of the jurisprudence. Aristotle believes in analyzing each and every state of affairs and doing an intelligent rational determination based on palliating fortunes. Although their terminal is the same. their waies and grounds for achieving a good life seem to differ.

Harmonizing to Socrates. a virtuous adult male is a good adult male and “nothing can hard can harm a good adult male either in life or after decease. and his lucks are non a affair of indifference to the Gods” ( Plato 70 ) . This statement suggests that the benefit of achieving a good and virtuous life will take to a wage off by the Gods one time the virtuous individual has left this Earth. Although a good individual can be physically harmed in the physical life. true injury comes in the signifier of a life without significance. Harmonizing to Socrates concluding. a virtuous life is deserving life because the Gods will smile upon you and bless your current life every bit good as your after life.

A virtuous life is a life with significance to be honored and remembered for the approvals it bestowed upon the people that knew that individual. The desire to stay immortal spiritually drives people to populate a good life. This thrust to populate a virtuous life analogues Aristotle’s stance on a virtuous life conveying felicity to the virtuous individual. merely by executing virtuous undertakings. Harmonizing to Aristotle. “the philosopher. even when by himself. can contemplate truth. and the better the wiser he is? And this activity entirely would look to be loved for its ain sake” ( Aristotle 264 ) .

To be a virtuous individual is to pacify your ain desires by assisting and taking a good life for others to follow. It is clear that Aristotle believes merely the elect category has the ability and desire and is capable of taking a virtuous life. The way to virtue through cognition and pattern nevertheless. is a cosmopolitan way to goodness. The impression that merely an elect member of society can achieve a virtuous life is an antediluvian thought. Aristotle believed merely the blue bloods had the possible to be virtuous and all other people were merely common mans.

Aristotle’s way to a virtuous life is admirable and come-at-able. but to propose that merely the elite are capable of a virtuous life is contradictory to the foundation of a virtuous life to get down with. Aristotle begins to give instructions on populating a virtuous life for the intent of breaking society by bettering 1s psyche. His elitist attitude and sole instructions to the blue category merely serves to foster divide the “elite” from the common mans. This separation creates tenseness between the categories and tenseness leads to civil agitation.

This tenseness is contradictory to the harmonious society that is purportedly gained by an addition in virtuous citizens. By providing specifically to the elect members of society and excepting the multitudes. Aristotle is impeding the procedure of making an ideal society filled with virtuous citizens. Aristotle and Socrates both have similar ideals and motives ; both are pure in bosom and genuinely believe in what they are learning about virtuousness. When the two theories merge they become a series of ideal rules to populate a virtuous life. Both work forces emphasize the importance of cognition and truth in order to go a virtuous individual.

Socrates. nevertheless. rests about wholly upon the foundation of Torahs and ordinances to find the virtuousness of 1s actions. This is a sensible belief in theory but in pattern there are excessively many variables to specify every action as merely or virtuous. It is with this apprehension that Aristotle stated the deficiency of definite regulations using to moralss. Without a cosmopolitan definition. one needed to utilize the cognition they obtained habitually to specify himself or herself as a virtuous individual. Their ain cognition. paired with the recommended action advised by the Torahs of the land would take the individual in inquiry to do the right determination.

Both work forces portion a devotedness to knowledge and habit. A digest of Socrates dedication to Torahs and Aristotle’s insisting upon pattern require one to confer with the Torahs of the land and their personal inherent aptitudes in order to be one measure farther to a virtuous life. The differentiations discussed antecedently can be rectified and compiled into a series of guidelines for the cosmopolitan individual to accomplish a virtuous life. Bibliography Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1998. Plato. The Last Days of Socrates. London: Penguin Books. 2003.