Date of publication: 2017-07-08 20:43
Aristotle&rsquo s interest is solely in when and how to assign praise and blame. He is not concerned with the metaphysical or psychological questions of what motivates blameworthy action or to what extent it is preventable. As such, he takes no interest in the question of free will.
Magnanimity, the fifth virtue Aristotle discusses, is one of the peaks of virtue. A magnanimous man claims and deserves great honors. Someone who deserves honors but doesn t claim them is low-minded, and someone who claims honors but doesn t deserve them is vain. It is better to be vain than low-minded, because vanity will be naturally corrected by life experience. A magnanimous man is great in each of the virtues, and is a sort of ornament of virtues because he shows how good a virtuous life is.
There are three types of goods: external, those of the soul and those of the body. Those of the soul are most important, and a person s actions fall into this category.
The next virtue is temperance. It is a mean with regard to bodily pleasures. The intemperate man desires pleasurable things and chooses them because they are pleasurable he is pained when he fails to get what he desires. A temperate man is moderately disposed with regard to pleasures and pains. He loves such pleasures as right reason dictates. Temperance keeps the desiring part of the soul in harmony with reason.
The next virtue is munificence, which consists giving large amounts for suitable occasions. The deficiency of this virtue is called meanness and the excess is ostentation. A munificent man spends gladly and lavishly, not calculating costs, but always for a noble purpose.
In spite of what many philosophers may say, pleasure is a good. It perfects actions. The goodness of pleasure is determined by the goodness of the action which it accompanies. The highest good, happiness, must also involve pleasure.
The highest good is happiness, which means living well. There is a dispute as to what constitutes happinesswhether it is pleasure, honor, health, wealth, knowledge or something else. If a student s ethical habits are not good, he will be hindered from accepting ethical knowledge.
In true Aristotelian fashion, he then proceeds to outline and categorize all of the virtues and vices as he sees them. It’s good to be patient, for instance, when facing anger, but every now and then, it’s advisable to display a small amount of wrath yourself. It’s recommended to have the social virtues of wit, amiability and sincerity. Modesty is most appropriate among the and so on.
Within our small group of exemplary poetic works, there are two that do not have the tragic form, and hence do not concentrate all their power into putting us in a state of wonder, but also depict the state of wonder among their characters and contain speeches that reflect on it. They are Homer's Iliad and Shakespeare's Tempest. (Incidentally, there is an excellent small book called Woe or Wonder, the Emotional Effect of Shakespearean Tragedy , by J. V. Cunningham, that demonstrates the continuity of the traditional understanding of tragedy from Aristotle to Shakespeare.) The first poem in our literary heritage, and Shakespeare's last play, both belong to a conversation of which Aristotle's Poetics is the most prominent part.