Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

How to be a Virtuous Person College

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics presents the reader with his thoughts on philosophical matters. In book two chapter four, Aristotle compares and contrasts virtue with the arts. He begins by addressing the possible question of what he means when saying that one becomes just by doing just acts and temperate by doing temperate acts. He compares this with grammarians and musicians saying that if one does grammatical or musical acts, they are grammarians and musicians. However, he makes a clear distinction between virtue and the arts because a virtuous person must be in a condition that specifically makes them truly virtuous but an artist does not need to have this certain character to be considered a true artist. A person cannot be virtuous simply by studying acts of virtue such as justice and temperance. They must do these acts and do them virtuously.

A person may say that if they are acting in temperate and just ways, then they are already a temperate and just person. While Aristotle partially agrees with this statement, he gives more information on what else a person needs to have in order to be truly temperate and just, and therefore truly virtuous. He begins this explanation by comparing and contrasting virtue with the arts...

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