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Nicomachean Ethics: Courage

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By xtakashiro
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Imagine a newborn baby crying in the hospital. This baby was not born with the knowledge of being kind nor evil but with a pure state of mind. Not knowing what is right and wrong, virtue can guide people to knowing what is good. But what exactly is virtue? According to Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics, virtue is described as neither a feeling nor capacity but a settled state or disposition. It is shown as a state that allows people to aim for what is transitional and also what decides the mean between two practices, one of being overly full and the other being a lack of. A great example of a common virtue would be courage. People usually depict courage as being strong and facing danger without fear. But this common assumption isn’t what true courage is. In reference to Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, there are those who appear to be courageous and those who are actual courageous people. Therefore what exactly is a courageous person and how do we distinguish from one to another? Aristotle describes courage in the text through the various principles taken from virtue and examples of those who have a part of what is considered courageous. It starts out with the balance of the mean between fear and confidence. People portray fear as everything that seems bad. They fear all bad things such as bad reputation, poverty, sickness, savage and death but none of these should be a concern for a courageous person. For example, fear of bad reputation is actually considered a normal and fine thing because it’s better to fear reputation than not having any feelings of disgrace at all (Book III, ch. 6). In this case, a courageous person should have a glimpse of fear within despite how they should be fearless in the eyes of people. Those who face irresistible fears would promote confidence since they are forced to stand firm against them till the end for the sake of virtue or…...

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