Aristotle’s Conception of Virtue

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Aristotle argues that the most important form of happiness consists neither in momentary episodes of pleasure nor in long series of such moments,but rather in the happiness one can take in old age in reflecting back on a life well-lived.

Please answer the following question:

  • What, according to Aristotle, constitutes a life well-lived, and how does his conception of this relate to his conception of virtue and his ideal of virtuous action that avoids both “excess” and “deficiency” but rather that realizes “a mean”?

This is a challenging question, so please begin discussing near the start of this lesson and please discuss with your peers and work with your professor step-by-step to develop a clear understanding of Aristotle’s ideas. As you do this, please remember to quote and analyze “crucial passages,” to ask specific questions about concepts or argumentative moves that strike you as important but that you do not fully understand. Finally, please be sure to discuss carefully the discussion of virtue and of virtue within the context of “a complete life” that occurs from the top of page 245 through the end of the excerpt from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.

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