IntroductionWhatsignifies a noble, valuable and satisfying life? Aristotle agrees that the bestlife comes with the implementation of ideas of “virtue”. By definition, Aristotle states that virtueentails the act of attaining excellence and having the ability to know good andrighteousness and act on them (Foot, 2002). That virtue is astate of character that is helpful in achieving a satisfactory and happy life,which according to Aristotle is a life with reason. Doctrineof the meanThemean between two extremes could be explained as a balance between two opposing thoughts.Is virtue a mean that is intended to end up with an intermediate decisionbetween good and bad? For example of courage which is a balancebetween being a coward and becoming reckless. Some could consider a coward tobe a warrior who runs away from the battlefield while a reckless warrior beingon one who attacks alone 100 enemy soldiers.
On the aspect traits like courageare considered a moral virtue that leads to a good life, but on the extremeside, there are vices that are considered unrighteous for example being greedy,insensitive or murder. Aristotleexplains the concept further by pointing out that there is no universal measureof the mean. Aristotle says that “mean between two extremes “does not signifyarithmetic mean but it is all dependant on the circumstances (Barnes,2014).Giving an example of being angry at the right time for the right reason andwith the right intensity should be brilliant.
Does this show that”mean” only applies to virtues and not the vices? There have beensome cases of murder where one could be justified to say it was self-defensedepending on the ethical system. Aristotle view of the mean involves having theability to act in an intermediate way without too much or too little but just asthe situation demands.Exampleof virtuesAristotlecategorizes virtue as a habit that is intended to act in a certain way. Virtue can be learned through a repeatedaction of these habits in order to acquire relative intermediatestate.Aristotle gives examples of virtuous habits that are the in-betweenaction that could be considered in excess or deficiency (Foot,2002).
The examples courage is associated with the response to fear, danger or pain. Itinvolves the lack of cowardice and excess of rashness. The second example istemperance which is associated with inadequacy of insensibility and having toomuch intemperance. Thethird example of virtue is Justice which according to Aristotle, it is animportant social virtue that entirely discusses the interest of an individualand the society at large. It encompasses fairness and obedience to the law.
Distributivejustice involves the equal distribution of resources which in some case it canbe unfair while moral justice explains the aspect of committing injustice andfacing the consequences (Pomerleau, 1997). Unlike theother examples, Justice is related to two identical extreme ends that can bereferred to as injustice. The final example is practical wisdom. This helpshuman being know what is right or wrong. Apart from moral virtue, a personrequires both emotional and intellectual intelligence. It is intended toquestion individual passion or action. Aristotle writes that virtue is a skillaimed at making a balanced choice between extreme mean relative to anindividual.
ConclusionVirtuesare acquired habits through repeated practice and not a natural born talent. Aristotleconcludes that virtue is only learned through habituation. Human being becomeswhat they repeatedly do. In order to achieve the ultimate goal of life, a humanbeing must employ rational reasoning originating from individual soul and character. The ability to control one’s thoughts dependon the individual moral virtues which are intermediates between deficiency andexcess. According to Aristotle, one must also have the intellectual capacity tomake balanced choices between right and wrong in order to have a virtuousliving.