The Moral Virtues and the Two Sides of Energeia

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1989


Ancient Philosophy | Arts and Humanities | Classics | Philosophy


“Moral virtue and the moral virtues have a strange career in the Nicomachean Ethics[…]Virtue, both as singular and plural, carries at least [five] meanings in the Ethics.[…]In this paper, I want to clarify the connections between the three aspects of the moral virtues mentioned above – the moral virtues are energeiai of the irrational but persuadable part of the soul, are activities worth pursuing for their own sake, and coincide for the most part with traditionally praised activities. I want to see why the excellence of the irrational but persuadable part of the soul should be located in actions chosen for their own sakes that are in turn identified with the traditional moral virtues.”