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If Aristotle Were Alive Today Do You Think He Would Change The Four Cardinal Virtues? Explain your

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Started: 9/12/2016 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 846 times Debate No: 95359
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Times have changed but at the same time these factors are still something that we can learn from and help ourselves grow in society


The four cardinal virtues are a subject I've never delved deeply into before, I'm excited to learn more about it for this debate! I'm assuming that since you are on the pro side, you think Aristotle would change the definition of the four cardinal virtues or change what the four cardinal virtues (Although technically it was Plato who invented them, Aristotle just integrated them into christian teachings calling them the seven deadly sins. Cicero limited these to only four virtues). Also, due to a lack of rules as to how this debate will be structured, I will provide them myself:

Round 1) Opening statements
Round 2) Rebuttals (I will allow you to expand on your opening statement here as well if you so wish to, seeing as your original opening statement is only a sentence long)
Round 3) Conclusions (no new arguments can be made, summarize what you've already stated)

I don't believe Aristotle would change the four cardinal virtues. While the world today is extremely different from the world 2,000 years ago, we still hold these virtues today, just in a more modern way. Here I will list each cardinal virtue, what it means, and why it still applies today:

1) Prudence- The ability to judge right from wrong as well as good from evil. If Aristotle were to actually be alive today, then we could prove for sure which of our stances are correct. The stance he agrees with would be considered "prudent", since it would be the right choice, and the other stance would be considered "imprudent", since it's the side that made the wrong choice. In another example, if I were to argue that one must believe in only one god and you were to suggest that we should now worship multiple false idols, my stance would be prudent and yours wouldn't due to my morals being displayed in said argument being more sound. While I recognize this only applies to christian morals and that there are plenty of religions that recognize and worship multiple gods/beings/objects, these virtues are defined by christian morals and beliefs. This would still apply today because christian virtues have been unified over the years through pagen assimilation. Another part of prudence is evaluating who's judgement we value. To exercise prudence, we must recognize and consider the views of all sides of an issue and decide which one to believe on the basis of the reliability of the person presenting the information and the information itself being provided. An example of this is how (hopefully) the people who vote for us will vote after considering the information presented by both of our sides.

2) Justice- The precision in giving what each person is due. Today justice is often heard in a negative sense (justice was served on that criminal!), however it's applied to the positive side of things, as well as respecting the natural and legal rights of others. Thus, the criminal may be punished so long as the punishment doesn't go against his rights natural or legal rights. This is applied to most modern democratic judicial systems, in terms of how they look over their current laws and beliefs of what is a natural right to determine the proper course of action when, for example, they're deciding wether or not to create a new law. This is also applied to the common man. They say justice is blind, and that's because justice must be held up no matter our personal, biased thoughts on another person or thing. For example, you must always repay your debt to someone even if you don't like them because they deserve to be repayed. This is generally accepted in modern society.

3) Fortitude- The courage to do what needs to be done. This means to do what is right even when it's unappealing or frightening. This does not include rushing into danger if doing so isn't necessary, that is considered rashness. This applies to today's views on courage, upholding prudence and justice, and martyrdom. I don't feel the need to go into detail about courage, since we generally value that more than cowardice in areas other than just christianity. Fortitude upholds prudence and justice because if we didn't have it, we wouldn't have the courage to stand up for what's right in the face of danger or opposition. Finally, it upholds martyrdom because they die for their beliefs, thus committing the ultimate sacrifice, instead of bow down to another's views. We support this if it is for extreme cases, however we don't support it for minor issues, which would be consider to be putting the body/life in unnecessary danger. For example, killing oneself when the other option would be to follow the practices of another's faith is considered martyrdom by todays standards, however killing yourself because you didn't like how people were cyberbullying you would be considered suicide, which today's society actively tries to prevent.

4) Temperance- The resistance to overindulge in various pleasures, which makes us no better than animals. We as a society consider temperance as combatting the seven deadly sins, going back to Aristotle's definition of the four virtues. This can go by various different names, depending on what pleasure we are controlling. For example, we discourage valuing material things over one's family, friends, and religion. Doing so is called controlling greed through generosity. Another example of this is how we discourage the overindulgence of alcohol, as this can lead to alcohol addiction. This is called controlling gluttony with narcissism (yes, narcissism gets a bad reputation with being obsessed with oneself today, however another definition of it is holding yourself to a higher value, or thinking of how you could be a better version of yourself by not indulging in gluttony).

But despite all I've said here, there's no way we can truly know what Aristotle would do if he were alive today. 2,000 years is a long time to live, and christianity has evolved since the time of Jesus Christ. Plus, his personal experiences over those 2,000 years might have fundamentally changed who he was as a person. Or, if you mean he was transported 2,000 years into the future, then I have no reason to believe why the different world he lives in now would impact his beliefs. It would just impact his view on how others are following his beliefs as to what is considered following the four cardinal virtues.

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