A virtue is a behavior or character trait that is consistent with who we ultimately want to be. Aristotle was the first to publish a comprehensive work on the subject of virtue known as Nicomachean Ethics. This work, named after his son Nicomachus, views virtue as a middle path between extremes of lack and excess. The following list of virtues begins with the twelve defined by Aristotle followed by a few possible modern additions. Each is contrasted with behaviors that may indicate a lack or excess of each virtue.
|Ambitious||Apathy, Inactive, Indecisive||Ostentatious, Ruthlessness|
|Good Temper||Moody or Short-tempered||Unaffected, Emotionless|
|Truthfulness||Deceit, False Modesty, Boastfulness||Indiscreet, Imprudent|
|Wittiness||Stupidity, Humorlessness||Derisive, Scathing, Clownish|
|Friendliness||Unfriendliness, Unsociable||Bothersome, Obnoxious, Intrusive |
|Humility & Modesty||Spineless, Passive, Detached||Shameless, Vain|
|Goodness||Cruel, Corrupt, Immoral||Prudishness, Smugness, Pompousness, Rigid, Bland|
|Dutiful||Disrespectful, Contemptuous||Docile, Servile|
|Resilient||Fragile, Delicate, Difficult||Stubborn, Obstinate|
|Fair||Unfair||Judgmental, Antagonistic, Self-righteousness|
|Polite||Tactless, Crude||Artificial, Insincere |
|Harmonious||Hostile, Confrontational||Sycophantic, Mediocre|
NotesIt can be argued that some virtues, such as goodness, can't be done in excess. The question of what is a virtue and what behavior may be lacking or excessive relates to each individual's sense of morals and purpose. This is also defined by religions, cultures and societies. As such, the list above is only illustrative and not authoritative. Aristotle views the purpose of life as achieving happiness. Here he makes a strong distinction between contentment and happiness where contentment is an animal state of being feed, safe and entertained. Happiness is being all that you can be as a human which goes far beyond being fed and comfortable.
This is the complete list of articles we have written about character strengths.
If you enjoyed this page, please consider bookmarking Simplicable.
© 2010-2023 Simplicable. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction of materials found on this site, in any form, without explicit permission is prohibited.
View credits & copyrights or citation information for this page.