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Aristotles Nicomachean Ethics is an analysis of character and intelligence as they relate to happiness Here Aristotle distinguished two kinds of virtue or human excellence moral and intellectual Moral virtue is an expression of character formed by habits reflecting repeated choices It is a mean between two less desirable extremes Courage for example is a mean between cowardice and thoughtless rashness Intellectual virtues are not subject to this doctrine of the mean Nevertheless it seemed Aristotle argued for an elitist ethics where whats good or virtuous can be realized only by the mature male adult of the upper class not by women or children or barbarians It was noted in class that these may have been non-Greeks or salaried mechanics manual workers In politics many forms of human association can obviously be found Aristotle did not regard politics as a study of ideal states in some abstract form but rather as an examination of the way in which ideals laws customs and property interrelate in actual cases He thus approved the contemporary institution of slavery but tempered his acceptance by insisting that masters should not abuse their authority since the interests of master and slave are the same It seemed to Aristotle that the individuals freedom of choice made an absolutely accurate analysis of human affairs impossible Practical science then such as politics or ethics was called science only by courtesy and analogy The inherent limitations on practical science are made clear in Aristotles concepts of human nature and self-realization Human nature certainly involves for everyone a capacity for forming habits but the habits that a particular individual forms depend on that individuals culture and repeated personal choices All human beings want happiness an active engaged realization of their innate capacities but this goal can be achieved in a multiplicity of ways John Stuart Mills Utilitarianism Latin utilisuseful in ethics the doctrine that what is useful is good and consequently that the ethical value of
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