The Scrutiny Of Virtue Essay

1110 words - 5 pages

The Scrutiny of Virtue

Virtue is a mean condition which falls between the extremes of excess and deficiency which are both subject to vices. Either of those two vices, or the practices of base behaviors, happen to rely on the virtue that one aims for. For instance, courage is a virtue of which cowardice and rashness are the deficiency and excess of respectively. Evidence of this is seen in Book II, Chapter 9 of Nichomachean Ethics where Aristotle mentions “…virtue of character is a mean condition, and in what way, namely because it is a mean between two kinds of vice, the one resulting from excess and the other from deficiency…” It is important to understand that virtue is not acquired ...view middle of the document...

And those who wish for good things for their friends for their own sake are friends most of all, since they are that way for themselves and not incidentally….” This quote presents the relationship that exists between friendship (particularly how a friend is another “self”) and virtue. And it is through real friendship that someone can be fixed on virtue which leads to happiness.
In addition to these things, one cannot fully comprehend what virtue entails unless one practices a virtue. With that in mind, I chose to ethically experiment on the virtue of generosity. Aristotle describes generosity as the mean condition concerning the acquiring and giving of money. In Book IV, Chapter 1 of Nichomachean Ethics, Aristotle conveys to the reader what the excess and deficiencies of generosity are by writing, “And wastefulness and stinginess are excesses and deficiencies in connection with money; we apply stinginess always to those who take money more seriously than one ought, but we carry wastefulness over sometimes, intertwining it with other things, since we call unrestrained people and those who spend money on dissipation wasteful.” In connection to Aristotle’s definition of what generosity is and is not, considering the excess and deficiencies of the virtue mentioned above, I would fall under the deficiency of stinginess. I personally have always taken money matters very seriously and have not taken others into much consideration when I spend my money. I could sit and write down several excuses as to why I decided to be stingy in each and every situation I can recall and justify it, but that would defeat the purpose of participating in the experiment in the first place.
Understanding that to reach a mean condition you must over shoot the mean (and by this I mean practicing wastefulness since I am stingy to reach the mean of generosity), I decided to practice wastefulness, and I decided the best place to start working on becoming a more generous person is at home, with family I’ve spent most of my life with. I began by putting in more of my financial resources by buying...

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