Blog #54: Full Circle

  • Blog 54: Why is the concept of “virtue” in virtue ethics circular reasoning? Cite from the Wolff book. 

“We acquire intellectual virtue through the teaching of others, but we acquire moral virtue by doing virtuous things until they are habitual; and Aristotle’s ideal person is one who makes the right choices by habit, or one for whom making the right choice is second nature.”

(168, Wolff)

The logical form of “circular reasoning”:

X is true because of Y

Y is true because of X

It is the right choice because it was made by a virtuous person

The person is virtuous because they make the right choices

This is circular reasoning because it can be assumed that virtuous people will do virtuous things regularly once it becomes natural to them. Therefore, we do not have to question whether the actions of a virtuous person are right or wrong; it can be assumed that they are right.

According to the Parts of Natural Law Theory, we have the tools we need to know what is good. Therefore, everyone is capable of knowing and doing good. If we assume that everyone is capable of knowing the difference between good and bad and right from wrong, then we can assume that those who consciously choose to be virtuous can be so eventually.

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