Aristotle defines virtue as acquiring excellence through the fulfillment of a particular function.
Stating that all people are born with the potential to be virtuous yet they must act accordingly through their function.Any function good and well must possess a telos or end objective which a soul is in search of, and it is through the activity of the soul that a function may achieve its telos.Aristotle sees anything that moves as having a soul, consisting of nutrition, locomotion, perception, and rationality. However only the human soul is able to reason and rationalize leading to human excellence, eudemonia, and ultimately happiness.
Virtue to Aristotle is not as much about knowledge as it is about the social activity of being good and moral to people. To Aristotle the sole act of listening does not make one virtuous, yet action towards the good does.However there are no definitive rules to follow in being virtuous considering practical circumstances vary so much. Aristotle believes moral virtue is to be learned through habit and practice, as a balance of two vices each deficient and excessive in their means of feeling, choosing, and acting well.Thus virtue comes from the rational part of our soul managing and controlling the irrational appetitive part as we deal with the emotions that arise in our soul when confronted with a situation.
These moral virtues however are states of ones character as a disposition rather than a feeling or emotion, as feelings and emotions are not subject to praise or blame the way virtues and vices are.The moral excesses include recklessness, self indulgence, extravagance, vanity, and irrationality, which are faced with opposing deficiencies cowardice, insensibility, cheapness, humility, and apathy respectively.A balance of these excesses and deficiencies leads to one being virtuous and acquiring honor.In doing so one must avoid the extreme which is farther from the mean, as well as.