Single Idea 5157

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

Full Idea

Any kind of excellence renders that of which it is the excellence good, and makes it perform its function well; thus the excellence of the eye makes both the eye and its function good.

Gist of Idea

If a thing has excellence, this makes the thing good, and means it functions well


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1106a17)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Ethics (Nicomachean)', ed/tr. ThomsonJ A K/TredennickH [Penguin 1976], p.99

A Reaction

To say that a thing's excellence makes it good seems tautological to us, but Aristotle perceives a family of concepts (such as good, fine, excellent, and functioning well) which capture different psychological states. We need 'good', as well as 'right'.

Related Idea

Idea 2095 If something has a function then it has a state of being good [Plato]