Essay on Philosophy Aristotle

According to Aristotle, a human being behaves morally and reaches eudaimonia – the state of human flourishing – when he or she practices moral virtues. A virtue in Aristotelian sense is a specific pattern of behavior, a tendency to think, desire, act and feel in an appropriate, harmonious way (Mosser, 2013). Different philosophers defined virtues in different ways; in particular, Aristotle in his “Nichomachean Ethics” defined virtue as the optimal middle between an overly expressed trait and a lack of that trait (Mosser, 2013). Furthermore, Aristotle emphasized that a virtue was not merely an average point between the two extremes, rather it was a weighed choice of behavior according to the time, situation and circumstances (Warburton, 2004).

In my opinion, two key virtues that are important to living a successful life are confidence and courage. Confidence forms the basis on one’s life and shapes self-perception of an individual, perception of this individual by others and the alignment between these perceptions. The person who has confidence objectively perceives own self with all positive and negative sides and strives to reduce negative aspects while enhancing positive characteristics. Someone who lacks confidence might be either overly self-focused and arrogant, or self-humiliating. In both cases, it is not possible to flourish without confidence because social relationships will be distorted.

With regard to courage, the characteristic behavior of a courageous person is taking risks and responsibility when it is appropriate and avoiding unnecessary or excess risks or responsibilities. Someone who lacks courage cannot flourish because he or she might miss new opportunities and might be vulnerable to aggression and impudence. Those people who are too courageous and take all risks without consideration also cannot flourish since they will sooner or later make damage to themselves due to such risk-taking.

Therefore, confidence can be viewed as a harmonious balance between conceit and self-deprecation, and courage can be viewed as the middle between cowardice and recklessness. These conclusions support Aristotle’s concepts of virtues as the golden mean between the lack of certain quality and the excess of this quality.

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