Aristotle & Kant on Human Nature

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The categorical notion of 'virtue' has a long history in moralistic philosophy. It’s first cogent exposition was offered by Aristotle, and it is thought by some that it has never since been expostulated better. Nevertheless, thinking about virtue did not stop with Aristotle, and his ideas are not believed to be unerring truth to everyone. I wish to focus on one central respect in which some moral philosophers, chiefly Immanuel Kant, have had doubts about Aristotle's account of virtue. I think that to a large extent the conflict is misunderstood, but it is also illustrative of some larger, more glaring issues in philosophy. Aristotle describes the virtuous person as one whose passions and deliberation are aligned. The person takes pleasure in, or is not, at any rate, disinclined toward, doing what he thinks is best. The virtuous person, according to Aristotle, is superior to the continent person, in whom deviant passions are in conflict with prudent deliberation, and in whom deliberation manages to defeat the passions for the control of immediacy of action. Yet it is the continent person whom Kant calls virtuous and to whom Kant ascribes moral worth. Moral value is exhibited by the subduing of fickle passion by objective deliberation. This conflict, most famously illustrated by the differences between Aristotle and Kant, raises the question: Which state of character is best described as virtuous? I think progress can be made toward answering this question by asking a more probing question: Why are we interested in the concept of virtue? It turns out that Aristotle and Kant would give rather different answers to this question. I think that it is because we are unclear about the answer we would give that the conflict is still with us and within each of us. Briefly, Aristotle would say that he is interested in
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