Important Virtues In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

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‘Does Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics present us with a humanistic system of ethics (in Fromm sense)?’ is a question asked by many people. In order to be a person of practical wisdom one should possess good moral reasoning and good inclinations. Aristotle first introduces these concepts in his book The Nicomachean Ethics, but he does not mention a really important virtue, the virtue of forgiveness. If mastered correctly, forgiveness can lead a person to acquire additional, and equally important good habits. That is why, in order to recognize the importance of this virtue, it is necessary to make a strong clear analysis. By definition, to forgive is to accept and let go of the offences done against one, and by doing so, be able to remember them without any animosity. In other words, the man thought to be forgiving is one who does not totally forgets the wrongs committed against him because let’s be realistic that is a quite impossible for us to do. In reality, the forgiving man is one who is able to remember all those wrongs, and still be at peace with himself and with the person in question. This in itself is quite difficult to do, mainly because in order to truly forgive, you must have a strong conviction. This can be understood better if we consider how easier it is to hate a person for something he or she did to one, instead of forgiving him or her of all fault and consequently accepting to love the person after the wrong that was committed. Therefore, the moral virtue of forgiveness becomes easier when we make it a habit to give others second chances.

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Aristotle believed that every action or thought should be aimed at achieving some type of good. There are those who argue that honor is the greatest benefit of human life. Therefore, Aristotle believed that anything good is most likely to be impressive in the same manner. Nevertheless, there are so many different things which people believe is good. He believed that anything that constitutes happiness is a virtue. One of the defining features of humans is self-awareness and free will. Aristotle argues that individuals are the product of their environments, with their values and ethics shaped by the society in which they live in. He explains that our adherence to these principles is dependent on our upbringing in which I have to completely agree with. When an individual conforms to social norms, they move smoothly along the path set out by society. However, ones who deviate from the pattern set by society will be met with resistance and struggle throughout life. I believe behavior cannot be either good or bad, but a person can have good or bad character traits. Virtue is a character trait, and character traits are part of an individual. If virtue is part of the soul then it must be a feeling, or a capacity. Humans throughout recorded history, have searched for a proper way of living which would lead them to ultimate happiness. What individuals need in order to live a sufficient life, is to show appreciation through our friendship, things we take pleasure in, and our virtue. Only voluntary actions are praiseworthy or blameworthy. We are personally responsible for becoming more ethical than the society we grew up in. Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort we choose to make. 

At the end of the day, we are solely responsible for our success and our failure. And the sooner we realize that and integrate that into our work ethic, we will start being successful. As long as we blame others for the reasons we aren’t where we want to be, we will always find failure. We should always choose our thoughts and actions based on values rather than the personal gain.

16 December 2021

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