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Nicomachean Ethics

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Nicomachean Ethics

Book II

One of Aristotle's main themes in this essay is that there are two kinds of virtue: intellectual and moral. Intellectual virtue is learned by being taught by someone else, and moral virtue is a result of habit (570). We do not get moral virtues by nature, rather Aristotle says that "we are adapted by nature to receive them, and are made perfect by habit" (570). We are given the potential to do virtuous activities, and later actually participate in these virtuous activities. In order to obtain these virtues one must first exercise them. A football quarterback does not become a quarterback unless he actually picks up a football and practices. This does not mean he will be a good player, but either good or bad, he has acquired that skill. Virtues are acquired in this same manner (570). "We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brace acts" (507).

Another main point is that that virtues are states of character. Aristotle says that only three types of things reside in the soul: passions, faculties, and states of character. Since virtues reside in the soul they must be one of these three things. Passions include things such as "appetite, anger, fear, confidence, envy, joyÐ'... and in general the feelings that are accompanied by pleasure or pain" (573). Virtues are not passions because passions are neither good or bad, and do not drawl praise nor blame. Faculties are the feelings that are brought on by passions such as "being pained or feeling pity" (573). We are not judged good or bad according to our feelings or our reactions to passions. We are not made good or bad by nature, but our feelings, or faculties, are natural, therefore virtues are not faculties This means that virtues must be states of character. Every virtue is good which makes the benefits of



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