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Aristotle's account of virtue and Socrates' account of virtue
Pages 4 (1004 words)
Traditionally, the motives of human behaviour attracts are among the key issues discussed in philosophy. Efforts have been made to identify the values and ethics on which human actions are based. Virtue is one of these values. …
The key difference between Aristotle’s account of virtue and Socrates’ account of virtue is highlighted in the study of Achtenberg (2002); in accordance with the above researchers, Socrates emphasized on virtue as knowledge, while Aristotle considered virtue as related to the behavioural characteristics of each individual; in the context of Aristotle’s account of virtue, virtue is an element of human behaviour which requires the emotional development of the person involved (Achtenberg 2002, p.24). From this point of view, minors cannot have virtue – at least not in its full form – since their emotional development is still in progress.
The importance of knowledge as a criterion for virtue has been the key characteristic of Socrates’ account of virtue. Curren (2000) noted that Plato accepted the view of Socrates that ‘wisdom is a key element of virtue’ (Curren 2000, p.48). It is on this basis that the suggestions of Plato on education have been based. Taking into consideration the fact that virtue can be taught, as Socrates supported, Plato developed the framework of moral education, a system of rules/ principles in which morals – including virtue – would be promoted. Through the above approach, virtue can be considered as strongly depended on education, meaning not only the curriculum but also the rules/ principles taught within the family.
The view of Aristotle on virtue is differentiated from that of Socrates in another point: Socrates supported that virtue should be followed by certain goods, named as external goods; however, the non-existence of these goods would not affect virtue, in terms that virtue could exist independently and that these goods would be considered just as tools for achieving virtue (Cooper 1999, p.306).
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