Aristotle: Virtue

Terence Irwin

in The Development of Ethics: Volume 1

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780198242673
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191680519 | DOI:

Series: Development of Ethics

Aristotle: Virtue

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This chapter discusses Aristotle's references to the Function Argument, which mark some of the places in the ethics where he relies on claims about human nature. These references determine the shape of his account of the virtues of character and intellect. The Function Argument concludes that virtue has a central place in happiness, since it identifies happiness with activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. Virtue, in turn, is the state in which something performs its function well. This account of virtue is more informative than it may initially seem. Aristotle claims that the human function is realized in a life of action (praxis) of the rational part of the soul, and hence in the rational choice of actions to be valued for their own sakes. In claiming that the virtues complete human nature, he argues that they complete the nature of human beings as rational agents.

Keywords: Aristotle; virtue; character; intellect; Function Argument; function; rationality

Chapter.  26759 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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