Hexis, or character, is defined as one's virtues or vices - not just any habit but something that affects when we feel pleasure or pain. Since moral virtue involves pleasure or pain, it is to our advantage to choose only those actions which don't cause us pain. We become well habituated by performing virtuous actions over time. These virtuous actions become real virtue when we start to choose them deliberately - when we are motivated by internal good.
Recently my friend Dr. Greg Sadler launched the first in a series of new 45-minute webinars and in-depth online seminars developed and hosted by ReasonIO. His March webinar - which I participated in - introduces the basics of Aristotle's ethics. The video provides a short overview for those like me, who want to learn more about virtue ethics but don't have a ton of time to read. It's up on YouTube and I have embedded it below:
- It is possible for us to distinguish virtue and vice apart from God according to Aristotle.
- Aristotle's list of vices and virtues are part of a larger system of moral theory.
- Aristotle's virtues are based on the "golden mean," between extremes of behavior. For example, courage is the balanced middle point between cowardice and foolhardiness.
- A good place to begin reading Aristotle is the Nicomachean Ethics.