21 January, 2011. My response to class mates: 1. I totally agree with you because your opinion is just the same as mine. Both of us have interpreted Aristotle’s assertion similarly, and our belief about human nature is alike…
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Two brothers who are given the same up-bringing turn out to be different in their personalities because of the difference of experiences that they go through. No one is born to act in a certain way, though the ups and downs of life do have a role in depicting an individual’s personality and attitude. However, I do not agree with you when you say that the vicious people can be changed. We can try to change them, but there are several controlling factors that are beyond our control. 2. You have made a good attempt to support your assertion with scientific discussion. However, you have mentioned partial agreement with Aristotle’s conception, approving which I have reservations. It is right that an individual’s characteristic traits are determined by his/her genes. But we should realize that anger is present in every human being to varying degrees. Similarly, kindness, gentleness, arrogance and such other traits are all existent in all of us and in fact, have a big role in making us act like humans. However, there are some that control their anger, and there are others who are controlled by their anger. What matters is, how much effort one puts into suppressing the negative feelings and promoting the positive ones. This is what virtuosity and viciousness is all about, and the environmental influence and an individual’s experiences play a decisive role in making him/her virtuous or vicious.
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However, I disagree to you when you say that a human being spends whole of his/her life trying to achieve the goal. I think that an individual’s goals are decided and influenced by the circumstances he/she happens to be in at different times in life. As a result of different experiences, an individual’s goals keep changing over time.
All it could have done was deprive the underground escape group of a potential helper, who could not only help them escape the land, but also save the life of many others by retrieving secret information from her master. Therefore, there is nothing in your response that I feel like disagreeing with.
God. It does not make any difference to psychology if humans believe or don’t believe in God. However, humans have no solid reason not to practice evil if there is no concept of ultimate accountability in the world hereafter. And accountability is associated with a belief in God.
And individuals work out the most rational course of action through reasoning. I totally agree with you when you say that Helen and townspeople’s act of not supporting the town marshall and his wife lacked morality because there was no good will behind their selfish attitude.
However, when the two sides are weighed together, Kant’s first formulation outweighs the third because even if father resolves to help his friend, his family, career as well as respect is at stake. As long as there is slightest risk in his act of saving his friend, he should choose not to save him because he will not even be able to satisfy the third formulation because by loosing his career, he will not contribute to the development of harmony in the society.
In fact, Aristotle makes an essential distinction between moral virtues and intellectual virtues in Book II and the former refers to virtues learned through habit and practice while the latter refers to virtues learned through instruction. Therefore, it is essential to realize that the Book VI of The Nicomachean Ethics builds up on the arguments that were put forward in previous discussions and brings out the various aspects of intellectual virtue.
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