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In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle, who considered ethics in a context of human (and not superhuman) will, has made a person responsible for his or her destiny and well-being. By doing this, he rejects the religious-mythological concept, according to which, happiness and misfortune are defined by the destiny. Furthermore, Aristotle excluded pietism from the list of analyzing goodness. The philosopher does not say a word about Gods’ role in the people’s ethical life. In addition, religion is absolutely absent in his ethics. Aristotle explores ethical problems in order to help people become better and make the society more perfect. He is the first who associates the ethical virtues with the desire, wish, will. According to Aristotle, morality depends on knowledge; however, it is set on the good will: one thing is to know what is good and what is bad, and the other thing is to pursue good. The virtues are not the features of mind, but they compose the turn of the soul.

Aristotle distinguishes diapoetical (intellectual) virtues, connected by the mind activity, and ethical ones, the virtues of the soul and character. Both of them are not given by nature, but are obtained with time. Ethical virtue is finding of the appropriate middle in behavior and senses. In other words, it is middle between the abundance and incompleteness. According to Aristotle, in order to find this middle, one should have a practical wisdom, judiciousness, or pursue the example or regulations of a moral person.

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According to Aristotle, virtues, which are obtained by education, are much more precious than those given by nature. The virtue requires attainments, habitude, and practice.

There exist two kinds of virtues, according to Aristotle. They are diapoetical (intellectual or cogitative), and ethical (moral). Rationality, or wisdom, and prudence (practical wisdom, gained by education) refer to the first one. The virtues of will and character, such as bravery, generosity, morality, and so on belong to the second one. The last ones are got by the habit training.

To become a good person without knowledge that there is good and evil, one should spend his time building a character. One’s good deed does not tend to a virtue. Naturally, the character building should be started since one’s childhood. As for the field of citizens’ accomplishment, Aristotle gives a big role to the government and legislation.

Talking about “the middle” as a distinctive recognition of a virtue, Aristotle means “the middle” in the field of emotions, “the middle” that is nothing “too much”. The philosopher explores in details the virtues from this point of view by opposing them to the malice. In this way, he opposes generosity to vanity (the plenty) from the one hand and cowardice (the privation) from the other hand. Therefore, the generosity is a “middle”. Bravery is medium between the reckless courage and cowardice, while bounty is middle between the wastefulness and avarice. Modesty, according to Aristotle, is middle between impudence, insolence, shyness, and timidity. As far as a moral activity is based on mind, it implicates a free choice between good and evil. By opening the question of the free choice, Aristotle has started a long-lasting discussion on the free will.

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One of Aristotle’s merits is creation of ethics. He was the first among the Greek philosophers, who considered that the will is a base of morality. Aristotle accounted thinking, which is free of material, the supreme beginning in the world, a deity. Though a man will never achieve the level of the godlike life, he should try his best to achieve this ideal. The confirmation of this ideal helped the philosopher create realistic ethics, based on existing. It means that it is based on the principles and norms taken from the everyday life. From the other side, he has also created ethics that is not shut out from the ideal. Aristotle’s ethics, including all its sense and appropriation, explains how to avoid misfortune and achieve happiness, which is approachable for a human. According to Aristotle’s ethics, a person’s wellbeing depends on his mind, prudence, and foresight. The philosopher has raised the science (the mind) under the morality, proving that the real life can be ideal. Taking into consideration the ethic ideal, Aristotle appreciates a lot the traditional antique virtues of a citizen, such as wisdom, bravery, justice, and friendship. However, he does not mean love towards each other, which is praised in the teachings of Christianity. Aristotle’s humanism absolutely differs from the Christian one, according to which “all people are brothers” and are equal under the God. The point of Aristotle’s ethics is that people are not the same according to their abilities, forms, and power of activities. Therefore, the degree of happiness or fulfillment is different, and some people’s life may be absolutely unhappy. For example, Aristotle considers that a slave cannot be happy. He presented a theory of “the natural” superiority of Ellens’ nation (which were free by their nature) under barbarians (which were slaves by their nature). Aristotle assumes that if a man is behind the society, he is a god or an animal. The slaves presented the other tribal, incoming element, which was deprived of any citizens’ rights. Thus, it is considered that slaves are not likely to be people, as a slave becomes a man only after gaining freedom.

Freud’s doctrine, which is not absolutely philosophic, has a great potential. It is principally connected with a specific realizing of human and culture. The doctrine was based on Freud’s conviction in the antagonism of the natural beginning in a person, of sexual and aggressive impulses, of instinctive on the one hand and of culture on the other hand. The reason of this antagonism on the intrapsychical level is culture with its ideals, norms, and demands. The culture, according to Freud, is based on rejection to satisfy instinctive desires and exists by means of sublimated energy of libido (sexual desire). Freud concluded that the cultural progress led to the decrease of human happiness and to the increase of the sense of guilt because of increasing limitations for realization of the natural desires. While explaining the origin and essential of the cultural instincts, Freud was relying on the concept of the individual and collective psychological similarities. Besides, he was taking into consideration the similarity of the mechanism of formation of the normal ant pathological psychic phenomenon. After that, he declared religion as a collective neurosis, as he spotted analogy between the symptoms of the obsessive neurosis and religious ceremonials. The presence of the typical forms of reaction and collective symbols in the human’s psycho (the Oedipus complex) indicates the real events in the human’s history, and the psychic phenomenon acts as a memory of all those events. From the same point, Freud explored the problem of leadership. He suggested that people’s connection in a group is based on libido, and this libido connection is an identification of individuum with a leader, who becomes an intrapsychical ideal for every group-member. While adopting this ideal, a person renounces a part of his personal “I” (the “I” ideal).

Therefore, the dynamics of human character has always been a question to discuss. Both Aristotle and Freud have done serious steps in riddling the secret of human nature, but there are still a lot of mysteries and contradictions in this question.

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