Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics the Concept Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

If this was the case, and this transformation of reasoning did occur, then that person would be truly virtuous.

There are many strengths to Aristotle's argument, as well. One of the main strengths is the discussion of the two kinds of virtue - the kind that comes from habit, and the kind that comes from learning. This would work to demonstrate why some people change so much as they grow older, and why many who come from good and stable homes and families do not end up that way themselves. The reverse is also true. Some who come from terrible childhoods turn out to be very good people indeed. Again, this comes from people carrying out acts that are virtuous and finding that they receive so many reward that are not tangible from doing this that they choose to continue along this particular path.

Another strength of the argument is that Aristotle always examines everything very thoroughly. He turns things this way and that, examining them in the light of reason in order to determine whether they have validity and whether they are rational and important. It is because of this complete examination that he is able to show things so clearly and explain them so well. This helps to prove much of what he argues about, simply because it is so difficult to find where he might have gone wrong or overlooked something. There are so few weak points where his argument and information can be disputed, and it is very clear that he has spent his life considering the things that he has put to paper.

This careful consideration is likely why he is still studied and found to be so important. He leaves room for argument in many areas, but not room for others to disprove what he has said. Much of what Aristotle discussed was very profound and while a great deal of it appears to be very confusing at first, it is the kind of information that must be thought about and processed for a while for it to make complete sense. This is not due to any fault on the part of Aristotle, but simply from the fact that the truths he deals with are very large for the human mind to comprehend and these truths are not something that become apparent to people easily. They must be examined many different ways, just as Aristotle examined them, before they are fully understood.

Even though Aristotle has been gone from many years, much of what he taught is still very relevant today, and still has great application for people all over the world, as they examine what he taught and make an effort to truly understand the points that he was trying to make about life and human nature. Without the level of examination that he shows, it would be easy not to take his writing seriously. However, he has put so much of himself and his life into his writings that they have become exceedingly important to many who examine life.

This is a large part of the reason that his discussion of moral virtue is so important. Many have overlooked what Aristotle has said, or they have felt that it does not apply to them in today's society because things have changed so much from Aristotle's time. However, what Aristotle had to say about moral virtue is timeless, and it is something that applies just as strongly today as it did when Aristotle was living. The central issue that Aristotle dealt with, through his health analogy and others, was that of character.

He wanted to discuss and fully understand what it took for someone to be a good person.

There are many different ways to interpret what makes someone 'good,' but Aristotle had very specific ideas about what was needed. Much of it looked at what humans were trying to achieve, not through works and invention of things, but through their actions and the searching for some ultimate truth or understanding. Everything has a function, and when the proper function of something has been discovered, then genuine happiness and virtue can be found there. He saw this virtue as the reward of doing things properly, and did not believe that any other type of reward was required. In fact, any other type of reward should not be needed or desired, since those that were truly virtuous were interested only in continuing on that path and did not seek any other type of reward for their actions.

The idea of moral virtue and ethics is also something that is very practical, and must be worked at to achieve. No one is born knowing good from bad or right from wrong. Just as those that strive for health must take care of their bodies and treat them properly, those that strive for moral virtue must take care of their character and their personality so that they are virtuous in all that they do. This is not something that comes naturally to people, and it can only be done when acting in this way becomes a habit. Through practice and repetition, those that desire to be virtuous will find that they are eventually capable of doing so, just as those that desire to get into better physical health must exercise, diet, and do other things in a repetitious pattern before they will see any real results.

People often loathe this repetition. They do something for a while with the best of intentions, and then they tire of it and move on to something else. Aristotle apparently never did this, as most of what he wrote about deals with the same basic truths and considerations. He often discussed them in different ways, but this only served to make what he had to say more significant. The issue of moral virtue was approached from all different angles and dealt with on many different levels, and it still made sense and could not be disproved. The health analogy that Aristotle used was particularly important because it showed how someone could think that they were healthy and yet not be, not just physically but in their character and personality as well.

It also indicated how closely tied together the physical self and the concept of moral virtue actually are, because those that desire to be virtuous must act that way and those that are virtuous already will also perform acts that are virtuous. In other words, the physical things that someone does and the character that they have are linked together, and they cannot be separated. Someone that took good care of others and treated them with respect and consideration would likely also treat himself in that same way. Those that had no concern for their personal health or well-being would also likely not have much concern for the personal health or well-being of those around them.

The seriousness of the issue should not be overlooked, as the things that Aristotle pointed out during his lifetime came from a study of human nature like no other that has been done since, and this study concerned not just a group of individuals used as a sample but all of humanity, no matter their age, race, gender, or where they came from. Many will still reject Aristotle's ideas, but anything that has not been disproved after all of this time and analysis deserves to be looked at seriously and treated with respect, even if it is not always agreed with. Those that do this and that extend this idea to the rest of their lives and the lives of those around them fit Aristotle's definition of having moral virtue.

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