Philosophy and Philosophers
Ethics and Morality

What is Aristotles definition of virtue?


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For Aristotle, every person has a character, which comes from the repetition of certain kinds of activities or habits. A virtue is a state of a character. There are two kinds of virtues: intellectual and moral. The purpose of examining virtue is not to understand what virtue is, which is useless, but to become good. A correct action is governed by the rational part of the soul, by correct reason. With respect to moral virtues, they are states that naturally tend to be ruined either by excess or deficiency. He uses a physical analogy to exercise: too little exercise and too much exercise both undermine strength. It is the same with, for example, bravery: too little bravery is being cowardly and afraid of everything whereas too much bravery is being rash and afraid of nothing. The moral mean is not always easy to find. Individuals must not only be rational, but they should also consider that the mean in a specific case is always relative to us as well as defined by reference to reason.