Single Idea 43

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / d. Teaching virtue]

Full Idea

Moral virtues are neither by nor contrary to nature; we are constituted to receive them, but their full development is due to habit.


'Nature' is the Greek word 'physis'

Gist of Idea

Nature enables us to be virtuous, but habit develops virtue in us


Aristotle (Nicomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1103a21)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.91

A Reaction

The notion of the habit of virtue is hugely important, precisely because such an idea is missing in Hobbes, Bentham and Kant. The concept of a true 'lady' or 'gentleman'.