Aristotles Concept of Virtue

Complete 5 pages APA formatted article: Aristotles Concept of Virtue. People live dissatisfied lives because they concentrate more on their vices and less on their virtues. A person is unholy without virtue and “very far from being happy” (Curren 112. An important thing worth mentioning here is that excessive focus should not be laid on the meaning of virtue, rather efforts should be wisely invested in exploring how virtues can be used to become a more productive person (Sheffield and Warren 354). General consensus is that any activity which promotes personality development and general well-being can be labeled virtuous.

Aristotle introduced the doctrine of the means to help others distinguish virtuous states of characters from vices. According to this doctrine, only that state which lies at the mean between two extremes, excess and deficiency, should be considered a virtue. This doctrine helps to separate virtuous states of character from vicious ones. For example, lustfulness and frigidity are two extremes and hence, vicious states of character. They are not virtues, rather virtue is a modest sexual desire which lies at the mean between these two extremes. People have innate disposition in varying amounts to calculate their actions in the context of pleasure and pain. This is because virtue is associated with passions and every passion is followed by pleasure or pain. So, virtue is also concerned with feelings of pleasure and pain. By using the virtue of rational thinking, people control or design their passions and appetites in accordance with the markers of pleasure and pain.

Moral virtues translate into a disposition to behave morally which varies from person to person. If a person knows well how to act rationally even in the most depressing times, then he/she is virtuous because rationality is the distinctive quality of a person. This shows that virtue and vice are controllable and in the power of people. They can be controlled by choosing to act responsibly and remaining cautious about consequences.

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