Premium Essay

Confucius and Aristotle on Virtue

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By thurd
Words 942
Pages 4
Confucius and Aristotle on Virtue
Lisa Wilson
Dr. Malone
Date 12/5/2015

Confucius and Aristotle are some of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind. While Confucius was born in China and spearheaded a new way of perceiving morality, Aristotle was born in Macedon/Greece and also immersed his philosophical work to addressing moral thinking.Both philosophers have addressed similar subjects with major points of divergence and convergence. On virtue, these two authors have almost similar opinions. However, it is their points of convergence or agreement that have had a huge impact on the modern world’s thinking and understanding of virtue and moral behavior. By the Standard English dictionary, virtue is defined as behavior showing high moral standards. This definition is borrowed from both philosophers who tend to agree by laying emphasis on character or behavior as opposed to the actions themselves. Thus Aristotle and Confucius agree that virtue is entrenched in one’s character and thus should be visible in all kind of situations and in specific situations (Yu, 1998). The twophilosophersalso agree chiefly on some components of virtue but disagree on others. One of the chief virtues that the two agree on is piety. According to Aristotle, humans serve the gods by improving the moral state of the human state. To him, being virtuous is a form reverence to the gods. Confucius has a similar take on piety noting that by following the ‘dao’ in heaven embedded in ‘li’, human beings act in accordance with the wishes of the gods(Yu, 1998). Aristotle has different set of key virtues to Confucius. Aristotle believed that the main virtues were courage, generosity, magnificence, high mindedness, gentleness, friendliness, truthfulness, wittiness and wisdom. On the other hand, Confuciusbelieved that the…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...ARISTOTLE Aristotle was born in Stagira, a “Grecian colony. His father was a court physician to the King Amyntas of Macedonia. It is believed that his purse of studies is due to his father’s influence of practicing medicine. He died at his country house at Chalcis, in Euboea at the age of sixty-two years old in the year of 322 B.C. He died to an illness he suffered from for a long period of time. There were legends that told his death to be because of hemlock poisoning, as well as another legend, it was said he couldn’t explain the tides so he threw himself into the sea. Aristotle was a high-minded, kind hearted man devoted to his family and his friends. He was a man who followed the ideals he outlined in his ethical treaties (“Aristotle”). During the time frame of thirteen years when Aristotle taught at his school, called Lyceum, he composed his writings into dialogues (“Aristotle”). His school was widely known as the walking school or the Peripatetic school because a lot of the discussion at the school took place while walking the grounds (“Encarta: Aristotle”). He taught the young conqueror Alexander, who became Alexander the Great, and thereafter his writings were lost and not recovered until the 1st century B.C. During the middle ages they were translated into Latin and Arabic and became a basis for Christian theology. In 2000 years no one has came close to his......

Words: 1314 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...Thesis Statement: “ [N]o supremely happy man can ever become miserable…” (I.10, 1100b.30) This above statement is from the chapter in which Aristotle discusses “Can a man be called ‘happy’ during his lifetime?”. From the micro perspective, the whole chapter is about whether happiness should be defined as permanent or momentary. Starting with Solon’s words and opposed examples illustrated by Aristotle, Aristotle leads us to deeply develop the definition and understanding of happiness. In his opinion, “happiness has permanence and is not amenable to changes under any circumstances”. Another element, for instance, fortune has the power to influence one’s happiness and revolve many times in one’s lifetime; however, Aristotle shows fortune is not determinant for happiness and merely an accessory of human life. Furthermore, “the happy man will have the attribute of permanence, and he will remain happy throughout his life” because the happy man will choose to do activities in conformity with virtue. Aristotle concludes that “the activities determine a man’s life, no supremely happy man can ever become miserable, for he will never do what is hateful and base”. Based on the true meaning of happiness, Aristotle advocates that it is the activities that matter rather than the outcomes. Further analyzing the statement of “No supremely happy man can ever become miserable” from the macro perspective should be focused on three key words in the statement. First of all is the “happy”,......

Words: 756 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...Tiffany Zelaya Word Count (1000) Aristotle: The Three Types of Friendship If there is one thing that can be used to describe human beings aside from intelligence and the power of destruction it would be that we are entirely social beings. No person is to live a life without being social. It merely would be impossible and for those who do find themselves in the state of rejecting society and a social lifestyle, it would be those who have psychological disorders. With us being social it leads to the search of companionship. The reality is that we all want friendships. According to the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, we are complete social beings and seek friendship. Aristotle argues that there are three main kinds of friendship. The first kind of friendship is that one based on Utility. What is a friendship based on usefulness? I would describe a friendship based on utility as being for one that gets something in return for another’s actions. For example, if there is someone at school that always gets great grades on exams and for that reason I befriend that person in return to get help on my exams and the other person accepts if I drive them home from school, it builds as a friendship based on convenience. This friendship only exists because the individuals involved have a reason to do something for each other. Aristotle believes this friendship doesn't work and won't last. I highly agree for the reason that once the favors and usefulness of the other person......

Words: 1012 - Pages: 5

Free Essay

Confucius

...Confucius’s beliefs have definitely left a mark on the modern world today and influenced several traditions as well. Confucianism has strongly changed from the days Confucius taught it himself, till today in the modern world. Confucius’s beliefs and teachings focused on the ideal person. Confucianism has clearly been westernized in today’s day of age. Many of the beliefs and virtues are not followed as an importance anymore as it used to be. Confucius key beliefs focused on the virtues and relationships between mankind. The virtues include benevolence, propriety, loyalty, intellect, and trust. Benevolence is being able to do good to others with acts of kindness and charitableness. Benevolence is practiced today with donating and helping with charities all over the world to the smallest gesture of helping a friend. Propriety is the act of having good manners. Good manners are important for the ideal person according to Confucius. It is not that common when going out people are out of control, although in today’s society it is slowly becoming “socially acceptable”. Loyalty is another important virtue in the ideal person. One should be loyal to everyone. Sadly today, although there are loyal people, not many people are which can cause several setbacks in relationships, or work environments. The fourth important virtue is intellect. To be intellect one studies and learns with an open mind. Today people make the mistake of acting intellect without actually being intellect. For......

Words: 812 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Plato vs. Aristotle: Virtue

...Umstead Plato and Aristotle, arguably two of the most influential Greek philosophers, discussed their differing views on virtue extensively throughout many of their works. Although they agree that virtue is a desirable characteristic that will lead to happiness, the ultimate good, there exists between the two philosophies salient differences. While Plato believes only philosophers are capable of true, inherent virtue, Aristotle believes all men can be virtuous with practice and dedication. GREAT. WAY TO GET TO THE POINT. BE SURE TO MENTION WHETHER OR NOT YOU'RE ARGUING THAT VIRTUE IS INTRINSICALLY GOOD. HAVE IT SMACK ME IN THE FACE IT'S SO OBVIOIUS. (LIKE THAT TYPO). Plato’s Republic contains one of the greatest recorded discussions on the nature of justice. His definition of justice can be interpreted today as virtue, or the proper working of the soul. Plato argues in this work that virtue is inherently good only when it is manifest in the perfectly ordered soul of the philosopher. This philosopher is born just and inherently good, thereby making him the only individual capable of loving and seeking after virtue completely. …..... I'M GUESSING THIS ATTACHES TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH? AND I'M NOT SURE HOW I FEEL ABOUT “BORN JUST”. REMEMBER, IT ISN'T “INBORN” BUT IT IS NATURAL. YOU AREN'T BORN THAT WAY. YOU TEND TOWARDS IT, THOUGH. Only through virtue, or justice as he calls it, can a man receive happiness, and this hints at the inherent goodness of virtue. A man’s soul will......

Words: 1667 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Confucius

...What is human nature for Confucius? What evidence does he give to show that his views about human nature are correct? Student’s name Instructor’s name Unit name Date Confucius is known for stressing that human nature is intrinsically good. He stresses that humans being are born with the ability for differentiating between wrong and right and wrong. A person may not be aware from infancy which acts are tolerable and which acts are not, but all offspring feel shame, and once the children learn which deeds are bad or good, they have a normal tendency to consent of the former and criticize of the latter (Van and Bryan 27). At times Confucius has been nicknamed the Socrates of the east because there are countless comparisons in their lessons. Both stressed the value of education and the function which it plays in the shaping the character of an individual. This shaping of personality may be viewed as the development of good feature upon the environment of human nature (Legge, James and Trans 47). This description essay will discuss the evidence that Confucius gives to ascertain that human nature are correct. Confucius said that by personality, near together; by perform far apart. Human beings are born with comparatively the same faculties and needs. Apparently there are exemptions at either tremendous and of the continuum, but in common human beings are all very comparable at birth. Based upon the actions of human beings, the feedback that......

Words: 1375 - Pages: 6

Premium Essay

Virtues

...Virtues We’ve all heard the famous quote “patience is a virtue”. As true as this statement is, I don’t think we really grasp the meaning of what a virtue really is. I would describe a virtue as a morally good character trait that one is not born with, but must strive for. Patience is a perfect example of this. No child is born with patience. Many times a child will interrupt the mother who is in the middle of a conversation because it wants candy and simply cannot wait for the mother to finish the conversation. So what is it that makes virtues important? I believe the answer can be found in the theory of Virtue Ethics. Virtue Ethics is the theory of how people should be. In other words, we shouldn’t act with honesty, we should be honest. By being honest, honesty becomes second nature to us. It is easier for someone to be honest if they have the virtue of honesty. Being virtuous will benefit someone when they are faced with decisions, challenges, or circumstances. For example, it will benefit a college student to be perseverant because obtaining a degree is not easy. Virtue Ethics defines the context of right and wrong based on the virtues valued in a society. The right thing to do in society as we know it would be to act with virtues like honesty or integrity and the wrong thing to do would be to act with vice, the opposite of a virtue. I believe there are many things about virtue ethics that are true. What I agree with most is Aristotle’s view of how......

Words: 887 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...moral reasoning. Among them is Aristotle who greatly exploited the concept of the right. Aristotle’s concept of the right One may wonder what ‘right’ means or what is meant by actions being right. According to Aristotle, an action is considered to be right if the action is done in a way that it corresponds to virtues that are moral. He further emphasizes the fact that there is need for the agent who does an action to be in the right mind alongside maintaining a certain standard. Aristotle explores the case of excellence and that of arts as two different things. According to him, arts produce products that are good and bear goodness in themselves hence bearing certain characters. In the event that the actions are in line with excellences and bear specific characters then there is no guarantee that the actions are done in a temperately or justly. The condition of the agent who does the actions needs to be definite and the agent must make a choice not for the sake of anyone else but for their own sakes. The actions taken by the agents have to be based on a character that is firm and one that is unchangeable. In his argument, Aristotle moves further to acknowledge the fact that knowledge is vital in the taking of actions while steadfast and choice are important in the reactions of affections and passion in the lives of human beings. He further emphasizes on the virtue feature especially when he argues on the fact that the proximategenus of virtue is a dispositional state or a......

Words: 1121 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...Nicomachean Ethics By: Mikah Friesen        In this paper, I will reconstruct Aristotle's arguments in Book 2, chapter 5 of his Nicomachean Ethics.  In this chapter, Aristotle tries to determine what a virtue is and continues as follows.  He assumes that virtue is something in the soul and that there are only three kinds of things in the soul.  He then gives several lesser arguments intended to show that virtue is not equal with the first two of the three kinds of things in the soul.  He then concludes that virtue is identical with the third kind of thing in the soul.  I will argue that Aristotle's arguments in this chapter are, with only minor changes noted below, effective.        Aristotle begins this chapter by saying that "we must inquire into what virtue is" (1105b19) and at its end states that virtue is a state (1106a12).  So the summary of the whole theory is: Virtue is a state.        In the first paragraph, Aristotle makes the resulting dispute that sets his approach for the rest of the chapter.   (1) Things found in the soul are of only three types: emotions, capacities, and characteristics. (Evidence, 1105b19-20)   (2)  Virtue is a kind of thing found in the soul. (Implied or complete evidence)   Therefore, (3) virtue is a passion, a capacity, or a state. (1105b20-21) Aristotle here only obviously declares (1) and (3) (and note that he gestures that (3) is an assumption that he draws ("since" . . .  "must be", 1105b19 and 20)).  But (2) is a......

Words: 1123 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Confucius

...December 2014 Confucius , Confucianism and the confused  Confucius was legendary. According to Chinese tradition, when Confucius was born there were forty-nine marks of his future greatness on the his body, and on his chest were the visible words, “he will point out, he will act, he will decide, he will accomplish the times”. Confucius, whose actual name was Kong Qiu and courtesy name, was Zhongni, lived between 551 and 479 BC during the late years of China's Spring and Autumn Period (770- 476 BC). He was born in the city of Qufu, which was located in the ancient Chinese state of Lu. A great thinker, educator and statesman as well as one of the most learned people of his time; Confucius was also the founder of a school of moral doctrine that encourages "justice" and "peace," known today as Confucianism. The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and government morality, correctness, of social relationships, justice and security. Confucianism has a decisive influence on traditional Chinese culture. Later generations honored Confucius as "the sage of sages" and "the teacher of all ages." Confucius exposed the well-known principle “do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, an early version of the golden rule. Confucius taught more than 3,000 disciples, regardless if they were rich or poor. Those who really wanted to learn were all accepted by Confucius as his disciples and had an equal opportunity to be educated. Confucius is the......

Words: 2013 - Pages: 9

Free Essay

Confucius

...Ethics and the Rituals: Examining the Esthetic Culture within Li Ye In Christopher Kwon A&I: Confucius and His Critics Professor Seungjoo Yoon November 21, 2014 Confucius remarks, “In referring time and again to observing ritual propriety (li), how could I just be talking about gifts of jade and silk? In referring time and again to making music (yue), how could I just be talking about bells and drums?” There is an implied intersection between arts and ethical morality in Confucian thoughts. The arts allow one, a particular student, to enrichment of self-cultivation, observance of the esthetic aspect of the ritual propriety, and the development of an artistic expression of the self- that is subject to ethical and moral questions; therefore, artistic work such as the traditional Chinese calligraphy (though not music) is an exhibition of Confucian moral quintessence that embody one’s character and the corporeality. The Analects place a great deal of importance on ritual propriety and the practice thereof. More specifically implicated within this context is the appreciation of arts such as music, poetry, and archery. To the extent to which Michael Nylan and Thomas Wilson elevate Confucius as the “Exalted King of Culture,” the cultural and artistic aspect of the rituals is significant in Confucianism. In defense of his fervent advocacy of the esthetic culture, Confucius refers to the Zhou Dynasty that “looked back to the Xia and Shang Dynasties,” and appraises it as......

Words: 2632 - Pages: 11

Premium Essay

Virtue and Ethics

... A View on Morals Introduction Most of the Greek philosophers agreed that virtue is a form of knowledge. They thought that self-testing leads to self-knowledge that then leads to a good life. Aristotle found the moral virtues are based on knowledge in a way that is "about us" whereas Confucius believed that the greatest virtue a person could have was respect for the rules of propriety, the ones governing the attitudes of society. Both Aristotle and Confucius deny the thesis that virtue by its self is enough for happiness, and while they would say that happiness comes about by a process of self-examination, they would not favor cross-examination. Both Aristotle and Confucius habituation, ritualization, and emulating moral persons are essential for the good life. Why Should One Be Moral? One should be moral since it can be very useful as it saves a lot of confusion and having to fight with oneself. Morals allow you to perceive rules clearly and to function well in a variety of cultures without conflict. People with moral standards sleep well at night. They take great pride in knowing that their intentions and actions are honorable. They also stay true to their beliefs, do right by others, and always take the high ground. They enjoy meaningful relationships based on openness, honesty, and mutual respect. When you have well moral character, people know that your character is dependable, your heart is in peace, and your word is good.......

Words: 847 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...be defined as individuals with prior experience and knowledge can only make proper decisions of ethical manner as they cannot be swayed with emotion and passion. This statement is a matter of theory because Aristotle feels as if younger individuals cannot make rational decisions or moral choice because they lack the knowledge and experience to make these decisions. I believe that this theory has its truths due to the way that Aristotle feels it relates to certain situations, like someone being a judge and making rulings of matters in which they have had previously made decisions upon. He believes that this knowledge judge will make a more ethical decision because he has been in this situation before while a young judge who is making a ruling on the same case for the first time believes that he would be incapable of making a morally ethical decision because he has no prior knowledge of this matter. Aristotle defines happiness as actions that are pleasant to a virtuous man. Which he believes that anyone can create happiness if they are serving their purpose in life every day and making decisions that are good for the specific job in this world. To give an example of this would be if a judge was making good ethical decisions on every ruling that he/she rules upon. To Aristotle the end of this judge’s life would create happiness as long as they are continuing to make moral decisions every time they rule. As long as this judge functions to their highest ability then happiness......

Words: 1487 - Pages: 6

Free Essay

Aristotle Virtues

...VIRTUOUS PUBLIC FIGURE LIKE ARISTOTLE INTRODUCTION The words of Aristotle, “The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal”. Aristotle repeatedly claims that character-virtue 'makes the goal right,' while Phronesis is responsible for working out how to achieve the target. (Moss, 2011) The contemporary public figure that illustrates the concept of virtue as described by Aristotle to me would be the American actor Willard Carroll “Will” Smith Jr. BODY Willard Carroll Smith Jr. also better known as the “Will” Smith is an American actor, rapper, comedian, songwriter, and producer (World book, 2016). He illustrates the concept of virtues that were described by Aristotle in many ways. Having wittiness of act, showing an appropriate desire to achieve, having generosity, and magnificence. He gives an excellent representation of how a person should live by for success in this contemporary world. A lot of actors are focused on themselves and get lost in greed of wealth. Will Smith show magnificence and generosity despite all the money he makes crediting it toward a foundation that was started by him and his wife. In the acting industry, many virtues are used daily to support their image and prosperity. Instead of only focusing on just acting, he shows an appropriate desire to achieve more by many different roles and is well known for showing wittiness of act in his public life as a Philanthropist. CONCLUSION The contemporary public figure Will......

Words: 348 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Aristotle

...Throughout his life, Aristotle paid particularly close attention to the notion of happiness. In Aristotle’s opinion, happiness is achieved by obtaining the highest good by living a good life. However, living a good life in accordance with Aristotle’s views can be difficult. He believes that in order to live a good life, one must constantly seek to fulfill the bodily needs. To do so, one must live with moral and intellectual virtues at all times. Aristotle believed that living with moral and intellectual virtues is accomplished by developing a keen sense of rationality. He says that rational judgment is the result of living within the appropriate mean of two extremes. There are several examples he gives to illustrate this conception. One example he provides is the appropriate mean between acting bravely and acting cowardly. He proceeds to explain that if he was to act overly brave then when he was in battle he would act overzealously and cause himself harm. However, if he was to act without enough aggression then he would appear cowardly. Aristotle explains that it is reasonable to be confused with this explanation. He further explains that it is not finding the exact mean between two extremes that one must endeavor, but to assess each situation individually. He says that with each situation that arises, one must analyze it and determine to what degree of one extreme or another one must respond with. Each person, he believes, will react differently and no situation will be......

Words: 465 - Pages: 2