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Aristotle and Socrates

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Aristotle and Socrates have different views when it comes to virtue. Aristotle sees virtue as a value of excellence that will assist you in leading a decent and respectable life but it's not the key to said life. I believe he views virtue as a characteristic of what people do, not as a theoretical notion like Socrates. Socrates perceives virtue as a sort of form or even an idea of perfection. Socrates proclaims virtue as a type of life practice or an "ultimate goal" one should strive for.

Questions that arose in the Meno were basically; if virtue could be taught or does it come by practice? Aristotle, I believe does satisfactorily resolve the questions rose in the Meno. Since Aristotle believes "moral virtues", and "moral vices", are habitual, one might say that they are in some sense taught to us by us. Most things that we choose to do or not to do, we perform them by habit. Also, in other cases habits are taught to us by others that we are constantly around. For Aristotle, virtue is an uncompromising matter. We cannot pick and choose our virtues nor can we choose that we will be courageous and self-controlled. He argues that our reasoning, which is the foundation for our virtues, derives from habit and not from nature. Neither by nature, then, nor contrary to nature do excellences arise in us; rather we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit. Again, of all the things that come to us by nature we first acquire the potentiality and later exhibit the activity (Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics). Implicating that all virtues that we believe are what we practice. The point in mind is that all of our morals are instilled in us through the process of learning. Also, we cannot say that anyone is virtuous if they fail to display all of the virtues. Though Aristotle lists a many virtues, he sees them all as impending from the same foundation. A virtuous person is one who is likely to display all the virtues, and a naturally virtuous temperament displays all the virtues in the same way.



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