Monday, July 25, 2016

Aristotle's List of Virtues

Moral Virtues

1. Courage in the face of fear

2. Temperance in the face of pleasure and pain

3. Liberality with wealth and possessions

4. Magnificence with great wealth and possessions

5. Magnanimity with great honors

6. Proper ambition with normal honors

7. Patience in the face of irritation

8. Truthfulness with self-expression

9. Wittiness in conversation

10. Friendliness in social conduct

11. Modesty in the face of shame or shamelessness

12. Righteous indignation in the face of injury

Intellectual Virtues

  1. Nous (intelligence), which apprehends fundamental truths (such as definitions, self-evident principles)
  2. Episteme (science), which is skill with inferential reasoning (such as proofs, syllogisms, demonstrations)
  3. Sophia (theoretical wisdom), which combines fundamental truths with valid, necessary inferences to reason well about unchanging truths.

Aristotle also mentions several other traits:

  • Gnome (good sense) -- passing judgment, "sympathetic understanding"
  • Synesis (understanding) -- comprehending what others say, does not issue commands
  • Phronesis (practical wisdom) -- knowledge of what to do, knowledge of changing truths, issues commands
  • Techne (art, craftsmanship)

Aristotle's list is not the only list, however. As Alasdair MacIntyre observed in After Virtue, thinkers as diverse as Homer, Aristotle, the authors of the New Testament, Thomas Aquinas, and Benjamin Franklin have all proposed lists.

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