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Is A Person Virtuous If She Always Aims To Act According To The Golden Mean?

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Virtue can be interpreted in many different ways. Regardless of the

interpretation we can say that virtue is the foundation of humankind. Keeping moral

experience in mind virtue helps establish a standard by which we judge and correct our own

character and behaviors. Every single virtue depends on a person's life style and the culture

they are a part of. Because we all have different beliefs of what is good or bad, our virtues or

standards are different from one another. For example, a citizen of the ancient Greek city of

Sparta would have virtues based on military values. This method of establishing virtues is

feeble because it is strict and harsh, while most virtuous life styles consist of a Golden Mean

style by Aristotle. Golden Mean advocates the idea that good conduct should consist of

some sort of mean between the borderlines of excess and deп¬Ðƒciency. I agree with Aristotle

that there is no precise equation or set of rules by which we can determine exactly where

the mean lies, and this is because the mean varies from person to person; therefore, how can

we say a person is virtuous if the Golden Mean itself is a moving target?

According to Aristotle, a person is not virtuous if he focuses on his own happiness or

pleasure, nor if he follows the same rules and orders as everyone else. (Ethics) A person is

virtuous if he acts wisely and justly. The goal of a virtuous person is always to promote

human flourishing. To be speciп¬Ðƒc, a virtuous person is not someone who practices one act

but rather someone who develops the action into a habit. A virtuous person does not have

to think about the rightness of their action because they already know that the action is

right. Once virtues are acquired they become a state of character and will become impulses.

Unfortunately it is impossible to determine whether an individual possesses these traits,

or simply appears to. In the same breath it is also not clear what constitutes as the best

combination of virtues to act according to the Golden Mean which is to act in the mean and

not goto the extremes. Aristotle believed that virtues should be developed by moderation

rather than reaching extremes. (Ethics)

Take the virtue of courage for example. It is virtuous to have courage but when you

reach the levels of extreme like cowardly or cocky and irrational, it begins to create

problems. But again, it depends on a person's culture for example п¬Ðƒghting in school school

leads to a punishment but п¬Ðƒghting in war is rewarded . So a virtue can act as ambition which

sets standards to live by, which you discipline or attempt to give your best shot to become

the best person you can be - virtuous. Virtue can also be what deп¬Ðƒnes a person as being

morally good or bad, but again it depends on an individual's cultural standards.

Virtues do not come by themselves; it is not as if you will be born with certain virtues.

Virtues take much time to develop. We usually instill and practice virtue at a young age

mostly through . You can not force virtues on someone , they are more of a personal choice.

In Book II Aristotle explains that a virtue can be learned only through constant practice and

then implies that there are no other rules by which we can learn virtue. He advocates that

the acquisition of virtue consists of learning through experience. (Ethics) For example, you

can not teach someone courage. It's something that you have to learn yourself and the only

way to do that is to face your fears head on. It's also like a quote which I heard from the

movie Matrix, " I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it."

Furthermore learning virtue depends on your own personal choice .We do not become

courageous by simply learning why courage is preferable to cowardice or rashness, but

rather by choosing what courage means to us and then training ourselves towards the

choice you make. In book I Aristotle explains how happiness is an activity and not a state. He

also explains that happiness is expressed by how someone acts, not how he is.(Ethics) So we

can further more say that virtue is needed to achieve true happiness.

Let’s examine the Golden Mean and why it’s a fallacy . The Golden Mean states that

virtue exists as a mean state between the vicious extremes of excess and deп¬Ðƒciency. It was

an overgeneralization on Aristotle's part in someway. The Golden Mean



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