Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

The Virtues of Character According to Aristotle College

In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle describes virtues in two types, one of character and another of thought. Virtues of character include things like bravery, temperance, and generosity, while virtues of thought include wisdom and prudence. In this paper, I will focus on the virtues of character and give a careful account of Aristotle’s views based on the reading of the Nicomachean Ethics.

According to Aristotle, the possession and exercise of the virtues of character are necessary for happiness. In other words, one can achieve happiness by being and doing good. By happiness, Aristotle is talking about the highest end and the best good for humanity. Aristotle believes that all human activities are directed towards certain ends or results, which we consider good. For example, we practice medicine to achieve health and generalship to achieve victory. Among the ends, some are instrumental ends which people attain for the sake of further ends. The further ends are therefore considered ruling and superior relative to the instrumental ends. Aristotle states that there is one end that is pursued not for any further end but for its own sake. This end is superior to any other end and is complete and perfect in itself. It is considered...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1314 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 9855 literature essays, 2493 sample college application essays, 464 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in