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Unity of Virtues Essay

Virtue in its broad meaning is replicating God which is a perfect being but for a moral being it means the habit of being righteous. This also means that virtue is a collection of traits for a being to be morally good. When we consider all the virtues, we can consider how each virtue is related to other virtues. For example, being honest also have an impact on being truthful, trustworthy and other virtues. In this point of view, we can see that virtues are dependent of each other..

Circular unity of virtues is the relation of each virtue to one another and the union of a group of virtue for a human being to be considered good. If one virtue is done, another virtue is also affected. However, this is not applicable to all virtues. It is true that one virtue affects other virtues but not totally all because not all virtues have the same essence and limitations. A good example is that you may be honest but you can also lack generosity at the same time.

There are other examples showing that virtues are grouped according to their essence, but cannot be grouped as a whole based on their essence. Circularity of virtues according to Aristotle is having virtues through our own experiences but all normal men tends to the basics of being good. He also stated that being good is dependent on the opinion of each person. Therefore the action of man also states his virtues. This just means that there is no true unity of virtues.

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We can have a particular virtue but for sure but we cannot have it all because we are just humans and humans are not perfect. We are enclosed to different reasons that unconsciously causes us not to do other virtues. These variables are culture, principle, and experiences. If the standard of being good is having all the virtues then no man is good because we are bounded by our different cultures, principles and experiences which is sometimes a hindrance to other virtues.

It is true that there is no unity of virtues but having virtues connected to one another is already a standard to being good. Virtues tends to rely to one another. This just means that being helpful also connects to goodness, generosity and friendliness. You can easily see the relation of each virtue to one another because if you do one virtue it also part of the limitation of the other virtues. Circularity tells us that the virtues we have because of actions we do must not be judged because we all do with our own principles, instinct and knowledge.

Virtues we acquire are just part of what we do. In that case to avoid circularity one must only judge in a way that it is meaningful. This also rises the need for moral responsibility which will give rise to molding of your character.


“The Ends of Thought. , 2009: Journeys to Philosophy’s Third Kingdom. ” http://endsofthought. blogspot. com/2009/02/aristotle-on-virtue-question-about. html Blackwell Refrence Online. “The Unity of the Virtues, 2006. ” http://www. blackwellreference. com/public/tocnode? id=g9781405115216_chunk_g978140511521625

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