Explain Aristotle’s conception of moral virtue. Also explain why, for example, courage is a virtue and why murder, adultery, and theft are morally impermissible according to his theory (consider that for Aristotle, moral virtue involves a hypothetical mean in emotions and actions).

Aristotle defines moral virtue as a character trait which enables people to make good choices and to rightfully respond to their thoughts, emotions, and desires, in order to achieve a fulfilling and happy life. Moral virtues include courage, truthfulness, patience, and more.

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In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle explains how virtue enables humans to act reasonably; we are not born virtuous, but we learn to become virtuous by practice.

There are two types of virtues: intellectual and moral virtue. Intellectual virtues are virtues that transform people into rational and critical thinkers and are connected to thoughts (the mind); these include scientific knowledge (Episteme), artistic knowledge (Techne), practical wisdom (Phronesis), wisdom (Sophia), and intuitive reason or rational intuition (Nous). Moral virtues are "the outcomes of habit" and are connected to the desires and emotions (the heart and intuition); these include courage, temperance, liberality, magnificence, magnanimity, ambition, patience, friendliness, honesty, wit, modesty, and justice.

There are two vices that come with virtue: vice of deficiency (lack of virtue) and vice of excess (too much virtue); the golden mean or the virtuous mean is the balance or the middle between these two extremes, which is the true moral virtue. Thus, courage is a virtue, as it's connected to confidence and presents the ability to act reasonably in the face of fear and danger. It is the hypothetical golden mean between cowardice and rashness.

In this context, it's notable to mention the moral vices as well: cowardice, self-indulgence, recklessness, wastefulness, greed, vanity, untruthfulness, dishonesty, and injustice. While virtues bring individuals happiness, esteem, and respect, vices bring people unhappiness, shame, and disgrace. Many vices are also morally wrong acts, because they're essentially morally evil and the individual committing these acts often has evil intentions. Thus, morally wrong or morally impermissible acts include "murder, theft, rape, lying, and breaking promises."

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