Weighing characters and virtues

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What are two differences between how virtues are described by Aristotle versus how they are described in Buddhism?

Ethical perspectives of Aristotle’s ethics and Buddhist ethics impact on the significant features of being a virtuous person and living rightly, however these two ethical aspects also differ in various ways. Virtues as described by Aristotle as dispositions to act in particular ways in response to same situations, the habits of acting and behaving in a specific way and therefore good behavior comes from habits that can only be obtained by repetitive correction and action thus making ethics a practical discipline.

As described by Buddhism, virtue involves avoiding those activities that particularly occasions harm to other people such as sexual abuse, gossip, theft, killing, slander, and lying or activities that may harm one self. Another understanding of the term virtue is that it builds on the aspect of cultivating or developing the strengths of individuals.

What is one character trait that both Aristotle and Buddhism would describe as a moral virtue?

Moral virtues are moral values that distinctively describe particular character traits. Both Buddhism and Aristotle ethical perspectives consider happiness as a character trait they both describe as a moral virtue because both perspectives claim that this character trait depends on how people are able to moderate emotions and desire. Aristotle argues that the ultimate end for a man is happiness, which is gained through practicing habitual virtues to perform human functions, and Buddhism produces some similarities with the Aristotle perspective for happiness as a character trait.

How do you believe your friendships can help (or hinder) you having a good character?

Most people just let friendships happen and they encounter other people as they go about daily routines in everyday life and when the feeling is mutual, there is development of friendships. Some of the people encountered are good people, others are not so good, and some of these friends can inspire people in goods ways helping build good character while others influence people in bad ways thus hindering good character. Friendship that is based on virtue is particularly conducive to good character and moral development and therefore in order to have good character people must be happy. As people seek self-knowledge, they need to see themselves through the eyes of others and friends should be able to play these roles in the lives of others. Good friends must have good character in order to help others overcome individual deception to enable others see their character flaws that cloud their judgment. Friends can also help us discover the weaknesses and strengths of our individual character as good friends can help others in their search for true happiness, self-knowledge, and virtue. It is impossible to be unaffected by other people in our everyday life. The opinions and attitudes of friends can influence decisions that people make negatively thus hindering development of good character. In many instances, people allow the negative influence of friends to affect their better judgment and therefore it is important to understand that the immoral power of bad friends works in a way that hinders one from developing good character (Vaughn, 2010).

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  1. Vaughn, L. (2010). Doing ethics (1st Ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
  2. Vaughn, L. (2010). Doing ethics (4th ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
  3. Vaughn, L. (2010). Doing ethics (3rd ed., pp. 333-356). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
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