Aristotelian Ethics: The Motivation for the Moral Learner to Become Virtuous



Karls, Alex A

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Aristotle’s ethical writings are focused on defining virtue and how a man who desires to become virtuous can do so. However, what is not readily apparent in Aristotle’s writings is the impetus that moves a person to become virtuous and the reason(s) that virtue is ultimately worthwhile, even for those who are not yet virtuous. Accordingly, this thesis investigates Aristotle’s account of human nature and human action (across both his metaphysical and ethical writings), develops a synthesized account of the virtuous person’s moral psychology, and then connects Aristotle’s comments on moral education with his accounts of human nature, action, and virtue. This thesis then concludes that the motivating reason for a person to become virtuous parallels the motivating reasons for the virtuous person to be virtuous: the desire for pleasure which is exhibited within the overarching desire to live a complete, flourishing human life. Although a part of human nature, this desire requires nurturing and education to manifest as an individual’s conceptualization of his life’s good.



Aristotle, Ethics, Education, To Agathan, Orexis, Virtue