Single Idea 6793

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

Full Idea

It is possible to get started in virtuous action without being virtuous, just as it is in the arts; it is possible to put a few words together correctly by accident, or at the prompting of another person.

Gist of Idea

People can break into the circle of virtue and good action, by chance, or with help


Aristotle (Nichomachean Ethics [c.334 BCE], 1105a24)

Book Reference

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

A Reaction

This is a crucial idea, applicable in many areas. Philosophers love to say that it is logically impossible to get started in something (e.g. scientific theory and scientific observation) because of circularity. But they are wrong.