Single Idea 5156

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue]

Full Idea

A difficulty with saying that people must perform just actions if they are to become just is that if they do what is just they must be just already, as they are already musical if they play music correctly.

Gist of Idea

How can good actions breed virtues, if you need to be virtuous to perform good actions?


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1105a19)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.97

A Reaction

Aristotle is himself voicing a charge often made against him (by Kantians and utilitarians). He goes on to rebut the charge, but there is still a problem (despite the benign circle of virtue-and-good-action), which is the familiar one of relativism.