According to Books 1 & 2 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, what is the goal or aim of virtuous activity?I'm also looking for information on virtue and habituation, excess and defect (the...

According to Books 1 & 2 of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, what is the goal or aim of virtuous activity?

I'm also looking for information on virtue and habituation, excess and defect (the mean), and happiness and the good.

Asked on by paulmita

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In Books 1 & 2 of his treatise on ethics, Aristotle expressed the idea that virtue was not so much a character trait as a skill. He likens virtuous behavior to hitting a target with an arrow. Just as the swordsman has to practice hitting the target over and over again to become proficient, so too does man have to practice virtue repeatedly before getting good at it. Thus, the aim of virtuous activity is to get better at doing virtuous things.

This model works well the virtue of courage. According to Aristotle, the only way to develop courage is to force yourself to do courageous things. At first, you may have a great deal of fear and anxiety. You may not behave with valor and confidence. You may execute your courageous act with timidity. However, as you continue to practice, you will get better at behaving courageously.

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