Anger can be a good moral motivation
Debate Rounds (3)
In addition, Aristotle claims that the two types of virtues, intellectual and moral, are developed through teaching and habit, respectively. He argues that anger can be a good moral motivation as follows:
(1)Virtue can be either intellectual or moral in nature, with the intellectual being developed through teaching, requiring experience and time, and the moral being developed through habit.
(2)Some men become self-restrained while others become irascible due to their tendency to behave in either manner; these characteristics become, through habit, part of each mans moral virtue.
(3)The kinds of activities we undertake define our character, and thus our virtues, by encouraging us towards one kind of behavior over another.
(4)Virtues are destroyed by excess and defect and are preserved by the mean.
(5)The desirable amount of anger is the mean between too much anger and too little anger and is considered good-tempered.
(6)The good-tempered man is praised because he tends to be unperturbed and not led by passion but is angry in the way the rule dictates.
(7)Those who are not angry at the things they should be angry at are thought to be fools unlikely to defend themselves.
(8)Anger has several manifestations, the worst being called bad-tempered which cannot be appeased until they inflict vengeance or punishment.
(9)We idealize good temper and oppose excess more strongly than we oppose deficiency since bad tempered people are worse to live with.
(10)Acceptable factors for one"s anger can only be decided according to th
it is possible that anger can instead influence us to make bad decisions. Anger can interfere with other motivations that do guide our moral judgments.
Seneca argues that anger, like drunkenness, fear and other conditions are vile and unsteady. Because of this they cannot be moral motivations but instead are weaknesses.
In addition, to pass moral judgment we cannot use anger to assess a situation because we may ourselves be guilty of the same misdeeds. Seneca argues that we cannot pass judgment on the rule of law alone because this forgoes the many other possible forms of guilt. To truly make a moral judgment against another we must consider our own actions independent of anger.
You say anger is vile and unsteady, but you must treat anger as if it is one of the rank in file, not as your commander.
Of all the things that come to us by nature we first acquire the potentiality and later exhibit the activity; but the virtues we get by first exercising them, as also happens in the case of the arts as well. For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. It is from the same causes and the same means that every virtue is both produced and destroyed, and similarly every art; for it is from playing the lyre that both good and bad lyre-players are produced.
Seneca argues that anger can make men reckless and in deeds of war this my make the situation worse. A middle ground or a good temper will still do nothing to prevent acts of immorality, rendering it useless except after the fact at which time the damage has already been done.
Anger does not always make men reckless; if a proper middle ground is found than anger can be a crucial emotion that can benefit the individual. Anger has several manifestations and some of those do not always include bad tempers. If a proper middle ground can be found than it can boost the motivation of the individual and therefore, serve as a moral motivator.
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