Aristotle’s Moral Theory

Analyzes qualities & actions which comprise ethical behavior, role of education & practice, pleasure & pain; applied to President Jimmy Carter.

In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defines moral virtue as the possession of such qualities as self-control, courage, generosity, high-mindedness, gentleness, friendliness, truthfulness, etc. The possession of such qualities occurs through action—acts of self-control, courage, generosity, etc. Actions of such self-control, courage, etc., occur again and again in the life of the morally virtuous individual. Moral virtue, then, is a factor not of genetics but of action, and particularly repeated action:
Moral virtue . . . is formed by habit. . . . None of the moral virtues is implanted in us by nature, for nothing which exists by nature can be changed by habit. . . . We are by nature equipped with the ability to receive [the virtues], and habit brings this ability to…
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