Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Great Summary: Aristotle / Nicomachean Ethics Book 2

Aristotle: Ethics: Book Two - The Good Virtue, and the Middle Path .

The good virtue according to Aristotle is divided into two types:

The virtues of the mind - wisdom, knowledge and understanding. A virtue acquired through teaching, and in need of experience and time.
Character qualities (ethical virtues) - generosity and common sense. They are bought out of habit, and are not innate.
Aristotle knows virtues which are innate cannot be changed, like the stone that will never move upwards. Everything given by nature is 'by force', and evolves into 'practice'. Aristotle argues that good virtue and omniscience are acquired as they are made. From doing so we will receive. If the actions are done badly so are the qualities we receive were bad, and if they are done well, so we are made good in them. The same is true of the virtues of character. Righteous versus wicked, brave versus cowards, etc. Habit is what determines everything.

Regarding the virtues of character, Aristotle claims that it is agreed that the person must act 'according to the correct pattern'. Acts become corrupt because of those who exaggerate in action and those who underestimate in action, and exist by virtue of the middle measure. Out of habit and experience in the virtue of good character, so it is bought. In addition, Aristotle believes that anyone who enjoys the actions done in accordance with the good virtue, he holds the same virtue of character. Therefore one needs proper education and habituation from a young age.

For Aristotle in order for deeds which according to the good virtue were truly out of justice and common sense need some conditions:

Action out of knowing - knowledge that comes from habit.
Action out of desire, desire for the name of the action.
Action from a stable and unshakable opinion.
As for the essence of the good virtue. Aristotle states that everything that comes from the soul falls into one of three categories:

Emotions - anything that is accompanied by pleasure or sorrow. They do not define a person, and they are not related to desire, but to tendencies.
Forces - an action by which we feel. A trait which is innate, and man has no control over it
Character Traits - What Determines Our Reaction to Emotions.
The best virtue according to Aristotle is a character trait.

The good virtue according to Aristotle is the character trait that is good to choose the middle way - what is neither excessive nor lacking. For Aristotle the middle is in relation to every man and every situation, defined by reason, and by a wise man. Aristotle's middle is exactly what is fine and successful, in everything. Another way to look at it, is easy to miss the target, and hard to hit, so add or subtract it is bad, and the middle - good. Of course there are actions that are fundamentally bad, so you will not find them through the middle. As actions that are proper, and therefore mediocre in nature, like common sense and courage. Even if on both sides of the sequence the features are bad the middle will be good. Aristotle believes that in order to find the middle one must find the edges of each feature, which are the features that are most in contrast to each other.

Aristotle emphasizes that it is not easy to grasp the middle, and that is where an expert is needed. So first of all one should stay away from the edges, and if already, then choose a tendency that is less bad. To get used to the middle Aristotle believes that we must first exaggerate and choose the side that gives the person less pleasure, and from this our ability to score in the middle will increase. Indecent is just the one who deviates often and much from the middle.