[lit-ideas] Re: Definition(s) of Virtue

Robert, I thought arete was the fulfilment of one's
capabilities (I take that from Googling it yesterday,
also from discussions some while ago).  


> For Aristotle, virtue was a mean between two
> extremes, the extremes 
> being defects of character: courage is a mean
> between rashness and 
> timidity, e.g. (Not everything admits of a mean:

Yes -- I'm finding it difficult to describe the
extremes between which arete lies unless it is,
simply, a mean between any (and all) extremes.

Puzzled in Cardiff

Judy

--- Robert Paul <robert.paul@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I'm surprised that in Marlena's list of opinions
> about virtue, there's 
> no reference to Aristotle, that hero of virtue,
> whose investigation of 
> areté is a landmark of Western philosophy?no
> kidding.
> 
> I suspect it was the Greek notion of areté that Bill
> Ball was asking 
> about when he asked whether virtue (whatever it was)
> could be taught, 
> and that notion doesn't fit easily with some of the
> things said about 
> virtue so far.
> 
> For Aristotle, virtue was a mean between two
> extremes, the extremes 
> being defects of character: courage is a mean
> between rashness and 
> timidity, e.g. (Not everything admits of a mean:
> there's no such thing 
> as committing adultery in the right way with the
> right person at the 
> right time?a bit of Aristotelian levity.) The
> virtues are 'excellences' 
> of human character, but the list of Aristotelian
> virtues may not exactly 
> match a list made up by people like us who are not
> male Athenian 
> aristocrats. It would be strange though if timidity
> and rashness were 
> considered virtues, and the kinds of behaviour that
> 'virtue' (and 
> obviously ''areté') ranges over don't form an
> entirely unruly class.
> 
> 'It is neither by nature nor contrary to it that we
> are virtuous; 
> rather, we are adapted by nature to receive the
> virtues, and we become 
> virtuous by habit.' Habituation is helped along by
> correction and 
> 'training,' by this is not the kind of training the
> Sophists claimed to 
> be able to provide for the children of the Athenian
> nouveaux riches.
> 
> 'Virtue ethics' is making a sort of come back in
> Western philosophy, but 
> it hasn't replaced the typical concern with rules
> and principles.
> 
> If Bill insists (and I hope he does) I'll read the
> Protagoras.
> 
> Robert Paul
> Reed College



                
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