Aristotle’s “Moral Virtue” And Immanuel Kant’s
“Respect For Persons”
In reading the selections from Book One and two of Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics Aristotle considers the highest human goal be total well being or happiness. He wrote that we choose happiness always for itself, and never for the sake of something else. He believed happiness to be the end and it is self-sufficient. He argued that every action a person takes or chooses has a specific purpose and that good is the aim of every purpose. There are two features Aristotle believed must be present in the notion of happiness. One is that it must be an end rather than a means and that happiness is self-sufficient in itself. It is sought only for itself and not for the sake of anything else.
Aristotle also writes that it is only through virtues that happiness can ever be achieved. He state that moral virtue is doing what is right, and making the correct decisions will give a person a good sense of worth and happiness. He believed that virtues are acquired through practice and habituation and good upbringing. A person becomes virtuous by doing what one should, when one should and in the way one should. Virtue is difficult to attain because people have a tendency to follow their instincts leading them to acquire bad habits, as well as good habits prohibiting them from developing to their full potential for happiness. Aristotle believed that it is impossible to attain happiness without pursuing what is good and true, that intellectual and moral virtues are necessary, and must be habitual. Aristotle felt that everyone is capable of being virtuous, yet everyone will not be. Humans are capable of learning and through many years of careful study, a virtuous being can reach a complete and whole happy life.
Aristotle wrote that a life of...