Single Idea 5874

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character]

Full Idea

The virtues of character belong to the part that is non-rational, but whose nature is to follow the rational part; we do not say what a man's character is like when we say that he is wise or clever, but when we say that he is gentle or daring.

Gist of Idea

Character virtues (such as courage) are of the non-rational part, which follows the rational part


Aristotle (Eudemian Ethics [c.333 BCE], 1220a11)

Book Reference

Aristotle: 'Eudemian Ethics I,II and VIII', ed/tr. Woods,Michael [OUP 1992], p.14

A Reaction

In the Nichomachean Ethics it appears that good character is the 'harmony' between the two parts; here it sounds more like obedience. It seems to me that our rational part is a failure if it is not sensitive to the needs of the irrational part.