Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Where does the analogy between art and moral virtue break down?


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Aristotle returns to his analogy between the arts and the moral virtues—this time to show why it is imperfect. In the arts, he says, the final product is a final product in and of itself. The virtues, however, are not like this, since they involve not only performing virtuous acts, but performing virtuous acts as a virtuous person would. This involves not only knowledge, but also choice and a developed character. Neither of these latter two are required in the case of the artwork.


Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, Book II