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Aristotle distinguishes between two kinds of virtue: moral virtue and intellectual virtue Aristotle says that moral virtues are not innate, but that they are acquired by developing the habit of exercising them. An individual becomes truthful by acting truthfully, or becomes unselfish by acting unselfishly. Aristotle notes that it may be difficult for an individual to become virtuous if he or she has not acquired the habit of acting virtuously. For example, it may be difficult for an individual to become tactful, if he or she has not acquired the habit of acting tactfully. It may also be difficult for an individual to become unselfish, if he or she has acquired the habit of acting selfishly.
According to Aristotle, the intellectual virtues include: scientific knowledge (episteme), artistic or technical knowledge (techne), intuitive reason (nous), practical wisdom (phronesis), and philosophic wisdom (sophia). Scientific knowledge is a knowledge of what is necessary and universal. Artistic or technical knowledge is a knowledge of how to make things, or of how to develop a craft. Intuitive reason is the process that establishes the first principles of knowledge. Practical wisdom is the capacity to act in accordance with the good of humanity. Philosophic wisdom is the combination of intuitive reason and scientific knowledge.
Understanding (synesis) and good judgment (gnome) may also be combined with the other intellectual virtues. Moral virtues may be combined with intellectual virtues; for example, an individual or society may combine practical wisdom and justice, or may combine artistic knowledge and moral truthfulness.