What is the difference between Aristotle's virtue theory and other theologists?

Especially the aspect of Aristotle's belief of everyone reaching eudaimonia.


I am currently majoring in computer software engineer. I chose that path because I found myself being decent in the tech field, hoping to see where it could take me. And the path has been eventful. Each semester the classes are more entertaining than the past one (except for the math classes, ooh, I dread them all). But for this semester that is soon ending, I was told by my advisor that I needed to take ethics. And from there, I have primarily found most of my entertainment this semester. The subjects they tackled were unknown to me (such as euthanasia, assisted suicide that sick patients could request). The writing topics were intellectually challenging, and the answers from my peers were simply delightful. I love seeing what other think.

The past week, we focused on virtue, and we concentrate on Aristotle's virtue Theory defined in Book II of the Nicomachean Ethics as a purposive disposition. Based on Aristotle's theory, virtue is a purposive disposition to do things for the right reasons. It is achieved by training oneself to develop certain habits. And once a person develops those habits and successfully has them in a cohesive pattern, the said person would reach eudaimonia (contented happiness).



 

But who is Aristotle?


In the circular world, Aristotle was one of the greatest philosophers ever to have existed. He lived during the Classical Period in Ancient Greece and was taught by Plato, another great Athenian philosopher. Aristotle is mostly known for inventing formal logic; he identified the various scientific disciplines, explored their relationships to each other, and made pioneering contributions to all fields of philosophy and science.


Down below was a question submitted in our class's discussion box, and I chose to answer.


I hope you have a good read.






Good Evening class, would anybody like to clarify the difference between Aristotle's virtue theory and other theologists? Especially the aspect of Aristotle's belief of everyone reaching eudaimonia.


Hello, K


I did not expect to see this question at all, so thank you. Well, first, Aristotle was not what one would consider a God believer or anything like that. His theory was in no way based on being virtuous for God but more so a personal decision to act in a specific manner that you recognize to be correct. For example, not stealing and killing; a decent human would not do those because they are morally wrong. On the other way, a theologian would tell you that you don't do certain things not simply because they are wrong but because you fear jeopardizing the relationship you have between yourself and God. For example, a Christian wouldn't lie or steal, not because they fear getting caught by authority but because God hates lying tongues and thieves. And doing such would not please him.




In contrast, in the Christian faith, eudaimonia could be referred to as the peace and joy found in Christ. And they are reached by simply believing that though I fall short or have not been able to keep up with those self-betterment habits, I am still loved.


Now in the concept of reaching eudaimonia, I think they are pretty similar yet very different as well. For Aristotle, contented happiness is achieved through a set of habits developed with the purpose of self-betterment. In contrast, in the Christian faith, eudaimonia could be referred to as the peace and joy found in Christ. And they are reached by simply believing that though I fall short or have not been able to keep up with those self-betterment habits, I am still loved. Now they are similar in that you feel relieved, guiltless, accomplished, and whole in the end. But different in the context that, the virtue theory, once you do something wrong, you might potentially spiral into a deep hole because the sense of your happiness was based on those sets of habits that you formed and were able to follow through. In contrast, true Christianity that is properly understood will make you realize that, yes, I could still fall, do wrong, and even not be virtuous for a second, but I don't have to worry about it too much. Of course, I won't go out and start wilding out and do wrong, but as much as my actions matter, God still loves me despite them all, and he is ready to help get me on track.


So, in conclusion, Aristotle's virtue and eudaimonia are attained by working hard and hoping to fall into a set of habits. And a theologian would tell you that true Christian or Godly virtue is gained from God through Christ. There's more to it that I did not touch on, such as the spiritual aspect, Christ's sacrifice, and so on... But for the sake of not overwhelming you out, I feel that this says it all.


 

My answer was based on Ephesians 2:8

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9 not by works so that no one can boast.




Dear reader,
the world has the ability to offer temporary peace and joy. Having the ability to fall into a set of productive habits can in fact bring a sense of stability and joy. But let us not solely base our joy on the ability to properly follow a set of routine, because once we fall short and are unable to follow them, our sense of stability and joy will in effect shatter. Let us instead base our joy and hope in Christ and His sacrifice for us on the cross. Positive habits and successes are great but they should never be our source of joy. Beacuse anything that is above GOD is then an idol, and our heavenly father is a very jealous God.










35 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All