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Aristotle considered it essential to living virtuously that we habituate ourselves to act virtuously. Just as we acquire skill in a craft or a sport through constant practice, we acquire the virtues â€œby first engaging in the activitiesâ€ (Nicomachean Ethics II.1). Your task in this assignment is to develop a virtue through habit.
Choose one the four following virtues discussed by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics: courage, temperance, good-temper, or proper pride (do not do more than one!). Youâ€™re asked to work on exercising this virtue during the weeks before the assignment is due. For example, if youâ€™ve selected courage you may need to respond with that virtue if itâ€™s incumbent on you to act in a situation that makes you fearful. It will be a good idea at this time to devise some activities for yourself that manifest your selected virtue. Before the assignment is due, keep a running list of the activities you complete â€” you should do at least three for your chosen virtue.
Write an essay of 800-1000 words answering the following questions:
- What is a moral virtue according to Aristotle?
- How does Aristotle describe the virtue you have chosen? What is it a mean between?
- What activities did you complete in order to exercise that virtue?
- What was your experience exercising that virtue?
- In light of your experiment, do you agree with Aristotle that virtue is the kind of thing we can train ourselves to develop?