Aristotle, The Names of Vices and Virtues: What is the Criterion of Quantitative Evaluation of the Moral Behaviour?
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In the Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle has given a tableau of the desirable virtues and their infringement through the surpassing of their limits. Thus, every virtue is framed or delimited by vices that represent either its excess or its deficiency. However, this type of defining is related to deep, metaphysical reasons: since every being, especially the liv-ing one, has its telos. Man’s telos is to practise and fulfil his human specificity, i.e. reason, and reason is the measure/quality of virtue as such; the excess or deficiency in his behaviour perverts and even stops the realisation of the humanity of man. And this humanity is, in turn, in accordance to the telos of nature, the good in and for the preser-vation of all things. If, hypothetically, persons would not be virtuous at all, this accord-ance would not be realised and man would be an accident in the logic of nature: and accidents are removed, sooner or later. The criterion of the “quantitative” moral evalua-tion is thus qualitative: a quality, the good aimed at by mindfulness applied to the con-crete particular moral relations and learned from experience.
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