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date: 12 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Aristotle explains what virtues are in some detail. They are dispositions to choose good actions and passions, informed by moral knowledge of several sorts, and motivated both by a desire for characteristic goods and by a desire to perform virtuous acts for their own sake. Each virtue governs a different sphere of human life, but all virtues are conducive to happiness. Aristotle maintains that virtuous acts lie in a mean relative to the situation. I sketch Aristotle’s account of virtue, and briefly answer some questions raised by his list of virtues. Aristotle asserts that virtue is acquired through habituation and teaching. Its acquisition presupposes natural aptitude as well as certain goods of fortune. Although Aristotle addresses the questions of how virtuous actions are identified, how they are related to morally right actions, and how his ethics is grounded, I argue that he does not provide clear answers.

Keywords: Aristotle, virtue, happiness, doctrine of the mean, reciprocity of virtue, goods of fortune, habituation

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