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Virtuous exemplars are people who can be mentors. They are people who have credits for their inspiring works because of their findings and great knowledge, which are applicable in day to day activities. Such people leave a respected and valuable legacy. One of virtuous exemplars is Aristotle who was an Ancient Greek philosopher (384-322 BC). His works are very inspiring. He was the main philosopher who explained the Virtue of Ethics. Aristotle defines happiness as an activity and moral as a disposition to behave in a correct manner.
The Virtue of Ethics is a theory used to make virtuous decisions. It is a theory that explains how an individuals action depends on the individual themselves regardless of their society, religion, and culture. Aristotle believed in virtue. To him, virtue is being able to perform one’s functions. Aristotle gave a definition to “happiness” as the activity of the soul in accordance with virtue. He further related life, happiness, and sense of well being by saying that those who live a virtuous life have a sense of welfare. Furthermore, in order to generally understand a case, one must acquire the ability to see which action is supported by reasons through well upbringing and good habits (Kraut 2001).
Description of Virtuous Character Traits that Are Evident in the Individual Actions
Virtue is divided into two kinds – the virtue of intellect and the virtue of character which is moral one. It corresponds to indispensable division of the part of soul, which are the part with rational, the intellect, and the part which can obey reason (Aristotle and Crisp 2000). Aristotle labeled the parts in the manner which shows the action of an individual towards a certain virtuous character traits like acceptance, accountability, ambition, charity, caring, creativity, defense, gratitude etc. He explained that persons moral is related to the character traits. Aristotle made it clear that virtuous traits are not given from the birth of a person but are acquire. These characters do no exist as distinct qualities, but as an aspect of a virtuous life. The first group is the sphere of actions, which includes fear and confidence, pleasure and pain, getting and spending, etc. The second is the group of excess, which includes rashness, vulgarity, prodigality, ambitious, etc. The third is the group of virtue, which comprises courage, temperance, modesty, friendliness, etc. The last is the group of deficiency, which comprises pettiness, cowardice, shameless, and enjoyment. A person tends to feel one or more of these parameters too intensely or not feel them at all (Irwin 2007).
People do not inherit characters trait but rather acquire them. For instance, people are not distinguished to be nice or cruel due to their experience in life. some choose to become cruel and some choose to be nice because they have been excessively making use of one character trait over the other. Aristotle observed that people who display to be rash always possess both rashness and cowardice (Aristotle & Crisp 2000). According to Aristotle, the best way to become virtuous is to follow the footsteps of a virtuous person, for example, Mother Teresa.
Purpose (Telos) of the Individual’s Life
Telos means purpose or goal or end. According to Aristotle, everything has a goal or an end. When one wants to understand an object, he/she should understand it through a careful study. Aristotle believed that when one wants to study an object, it should not only be described by its size, shape but based on its function. For example, if a person describes a product he/she wants to launch such as a car, he/she must describe not only the size and shape of the car, but also its functions and use for transportation.
Human being has a Telos just like every living and non-living thing. However, Aristotle said that living a happy life requires living a virtuous life. Being happy has to do with continued pursuit of happiness even as one does not have the decision to be happy or not. One has the right to decide whether to pursue happiness by doing right things or not. Nevertheless, one can not just be happy without pursuing happiness. Aristotle believed that it is difficult to be virtuous and becoming virtuous can only be happen under the right condition. To become happy, one has to set a goal and makes sure they will be content with what they will have once they have achieved that goal. Nevertheless, Aristotle explained We become just by the practice of just actions, self control by the training on self control, courageous by putting in practice courageous acts (Sachs 2005). According to cosmology of Aristotelianism, there was a fundamental difference between objects and living things based on their souls. Aristotle claimed that only humans are rational creatures. Consequently, the hierarchy of souls was established, from vegetable soul to animal to the rational soul.
Excess and deficiency of character traits can influence an individual in a negative way by instilling an inferiority complex in them or triggering development of a superiority complex. Naturalism meets a social psychological virtue. This condition makes one engage in more dubious and immoral acts, which can lead to more depressing and harmful situations such as having psychological problems and experiencing emotional stress. It also may lead to physical and mental retardation.