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The Excellence of Character and Phronesis in Aristotle

  • 인문논총
  • 2021, 56(), pp.25-45
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Received : August 31, 2021
  • Accepted : October 12, 2021
  • Published : October 31, 2021

Gwang-yeon Kim 1

1숭실대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Aristotle says that human character is already innate. He said that innate character alone cannot reach full character. If so, how can one be equipped with a perfect character? The excellence of character is not created by temporary or instantaneous change. The road to the excellence of character does not happen in an instant, but can be learned by living a restrained life through continuous habits or practical wisdom. He says that one swallow doesn't make summer. The excellence of character is possible when continuous effort is followed. Aristotle says that human should not remain at his innate character, and if we stop here, we will be at the stage of infancy where he do not have a moral character. He says that we must not remain by virtue of nature, but must move from natural excellence to character excellence. And he says that the ultimate goal we have to reach is intellectual excellence. To reach intellectual excellence, he says, we can reach it through practical wisdom. Aristotle also says that we need intellectual excellence in order to live together in community. In order for us to make the right decisions in the community and at the same time do the right things, we need “Phronesis(practical wisdom)” to make the individual nature work well. When a member of society is equipped with personal excellence and Phronesis, they will have outstanding moral character. Finally, Aristotle tells modern people about moral character. He says that we should not stay in our innate character but develop a moral character through continuous training. A society where members of a society with intellectual excellence are gathered will become more morally mature.

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