Can Virtue Be Taught Essay.
Lina Okab 10/18/08 Like Aristotle, I also believe that virtues are not characteristics but a state of character. Aristotle defines virtuous character in Nicomachean Ethics : Excellence [of character], then, is a state concerned with choice, lying in a mean relative to us, this being determined by reason and in the way in which the man of practical wisdom would determine it. 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_). Meaning that all of the 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.
For example we are not born lairs but if we choice to start telling lies then we form a habit and become liars same as with telling the truth.
If you always tell the truth then it becomes a habit therefore making you honest. I think about everything that has happened in the last year. I think about all the mistakes I have ever made and wonder why I even think about them anymore. Why are they so significant and why are they something that I insistently and relentlessly think about? I know it is because the mistakes I have made along with all the wonderful things I have done are parts of who I am and learning from my mistakes helps me understand all of who I am and the person I want to be.
In understanding who I am then I can choose to do the right things and therefore hopefully live a life that is good and virtuous which in turn would make me happy. I hope everyone in the world feels this way. Again, maybe I am foolish or an extremely optimistic person but I would hope that nobody of sound mind, no matter how awful they are, ever wants to feel pain or be sad. The ultimate goal of humans is happiness and you can only achieve happiness if you are willing to learn from the things that you experience.
Our experiences and our feelings towards our experiences form our choices and actions therefore turning them into habits that eventually shape our characters. Our character then can be broken up into two parts. One part is the part that conquers knowledge and wisdom from everything that we have experienced and teaches us what it is to be virtuous. The second part of our character is the part that our emotions control. These emotions then influence why we choose certain actions and choices. At least this is how I see it.