A Sample Essay on Morality | 700 Words

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A Sample Essay on Morality

Moral virtues are ideals and characteristics that help define oneself and ultimately help shape society. Moral virtues are essential because they help define what some may find morally correct. However, according to Aristotle, it is essential to accurately analyze the situation to come up with the best solution. This paper aims to examine Aristotle’s account of the virtues of character, explain Hill Jr.’s view of character defects and how action ultimately defines one’s character, and discuss the differences and similarities between Aristotle’s and Hill Jr’s view of a character.

According to Aristotle, moral virtues are essential to developing one’s true character. Aristotle believes that ethics is a moral device that can be used to achieve a higher means. He states that ethics aims to determine how to achieve happiness ( Aristotle et al.); ultimately, he refers to virtue as a disposition rather than an activity.  For example, courage consists of confidence in the face of fear. To further expand on this idea, if one chooses to perform in a show in front of a significantly sized audience, one may be afraid (i.e., stage fright). By showing some stage fright, one would be considered to be courageous. 

Aristotle also notes that for moral virtues to be appropriately used, one must utilize five intellectual virtues, which are as follows: scientific knowledge, intuition, wisdom, prudence, and tactical skills ( Aristotle et al.) Consequently, the virtue of character is developed by habituation, which is the constant response to a good situation. Aristotle affirms that while rules may be present, and one may choose to follow them, you are ultimately guided by experiences. If encountering a new situation, you refer to social rules or previous ones that may be relevant to the circumstance. All in all, Aristotle believes that experience and social rules can help guide oneself and their character development. 

Identically Hill Jr also notes that virtues (character traits) are essential. However, Hill Jr’s application of virtues is derived from how one interacts with the environment. He states that the destruction of nature should make one feel morally uneasily. He states, “upgrading the natural environment rules the best present and future generation of much potential use and enjoyment. ” He affirms that it is inappropriate for one to destroy the environment for selfish purposes and acknowledges that some may “appeal to certain religious beliefs” to soothe their moral discomfort (Hill Jr 6). In his essay, Hill notes two causes that he believes will motivate one to become a better person. He argues that animals depend on the environment, and if that is not enough to motivate one to care, he persuades one to further think about how plants are needed for human life. 

Essentially Hill believes that if one does not respect the environment and if one’s actions further amplify your lack of respect, it can be deduced that one lacks proper morals and can be deemed immoral. He even goes as far as to state that one’s character may be lacking, and perhaps one suffers from immaturity. Hill views one’s actions as immoral and ultimately attributes a singular action/ incident to their personality (and character). He contemplates how one can be a good person and not see something wrong with immoral actions ( such as littering).  Hill does, however, acknowledge that it can be possible that one may not be an immoral person but rather naive about the implications of their actions. He further explains that it is feasible that one may be “short-sighted “and not fully realize the seriousness of their actions (Hill Jr 16).

Aristotle, however, believes that one’s character or moral value is derived from experience and guidelines that one creates for oneself. Similarly, Hill Jr also supports this notion. He believes that environmentalism is something that is not only socially acceptable but is also something that is socially moral by society’s standards (Hill Jr 5). Hill Jr’s believes that one must follow social rules to be deemed a reputable person in society. 

However, Hill Jr’s beliefs contrast with Aristotle’s in that one wrong action can define you. Aristotle believes that reaction and application of particular virtues depend on the circumstances. Thus Aristotle emphasizes that situation is more impactful for determining moral virtue than actions. Be that as it may, Hill Jr believes that one’s actions are the basis of their character. He affirms that anyone willing to disregard the environment demonstrates a lack of self-awareness ( Hill Jr 19). 

Hill, Thomas E. “Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments .” Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments,


“Nicomachean Ethics.” The Internet Classics Archive | Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle, classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html.

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