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Aristotles Notion of Virtue According to Aristotle virtue primarily involves rationality and the use of a persons rationality Rationality and happiness are activities of the soul and virtue is the excellence of these activities Humans are the only life forms that have a soul the source of rationality Thus humans have a duty to always use their intellect Three things are found in the soul emotions capacities and characteristics Emotions are things humans feel like anguish or happiness that are followed by pain or pleasure Capacities are a persons ability or capacity to experience or express something Since people are not considered good or bad based on their emotions virtue cannot be an emotion Virtue is not a capacity either because virtue involves choice not abilities Therefore virtue is a characteristic of a person that renders good the thing itself of which it is the excellence and causes it to perform its function well In other words a person with a good character has virtue The aim of all human action is for good and any virtuous act is good A virtuous act must be based on rationality and only acted on after careful deliberation by the individual Therefore a virtuous individual must be knowledgeable about what is good must only make choices after careful deliberation and must be a good judge of proper action These virtuous characteristics come from experience training an environment conducive to learning a love of rationality and good habits developed from constant practice Aristotle reasoned that because humans base most of their decisions on the amount of happiness they bring a moral principle must address the way pain and pleasure fits into our Reed 2 decision making process Pleasure causes humans to do base actions Pain keeps us from doing noble actions Virtue involves maintaining a balance between pain and pleasure Aristotle stressed that this moderation of pain and pleasure is an extremely important aspect of virtue The mean between
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