Professor Nathifa Greene

Aristotle believes that character is not natural, and that it is developed through habit. Contemporary research suggests that some people are predisposed to develop in ways that are biologically ‘hard wired’ into them. What do you think? Is character natural or unnatural? Use an example to explain your point of view.

Professor David McClean

“What is agency, and how can it be both a useful concept and a weapon?”


Image  —  Posted: July 25, 2013 in Uncategorized

What is agency? According to Aristotle’s theory on “agency,” “agency is the power and duty to act, the power and duty to act in pursuit of your goals, and the power and duty to act in pursuit of yourself.” For example, the power and duty to act is the foundation for a man to lead his life in accordance with his virtues, by virtues Aristotle means to be honest, respectful, courageous, forgiving, and kind. These virtues, if initiated properly into the soul will allow man to flourish-be happy, as he was intended to. And lastly, by acknowledging the power of the virtue, man will flourished into a good soul by being aware of himself by skill of reasoning, serving his community well, and earned living obtaining support from it.

The useful concept of agency can be used as a foundation for the kind of person one wishes to be, and how he or she will become that person. For example, Emerson said, “if you trust yourself and work towards the proper development of yourself by discovery of your innermost talents, then you should not accept society’s false reward of property.” Emerson is stating: if you can depend on your thinking and rationale, you will discover the deepest ability to understand emotion intelligence, and whatever society wishes to reward you with will not excel what you have completed for yourself.

The concept of how to use agency begins with imagining a state of mind that one desires to adopt, for the creation for becoming a “good soul.” Einstein said, “Logic will get you from A-Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” Reasoning and rationality will get you from one destination to another but your imagination will allow you to soar beyond this universe, not to mention the newness of mind, cultivated with bright ideas that make you aware of life. Biggie Smalls said, “my minds my nine, my pens my Mack ten.” His weapon was his imagination and what came from it.

Agency has power; therefore, I will utilize that ability to encourage myself to do well. Agency has productivity; therefore, I will be respectful to my time, in how I am spending it. Agency has action; therefore, I will do because I acknowledge myself. Agency also has goals.

The weapon (mind) of agency can be used to empower people and communities into becoming a fundamental unit of happiness, true of what is beautiful and just, and aiming for good living. In order for agency to be a useful weapon, practical thinking must be inherited to be able to compromise, reason, and use valid judgment when accessing one’s virtues, and by virtue Aristotle means, to involve reason in thought and speech. When you inject reason into thought and speech, with the intention of becoming happy when formulating your concepts, your actions, and your deeds you become the meaning of your growth as a man of empathy and humility. I become the meaning of my growth as a man of empathy and humility.

Action Is Power

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Jazzmine Mack

Agency is a human or living thing in the world that has some kind of awareness of their actions. Agency may be known as a goal directed activity. This theory allows people to be aware of his physical activity and the goals that the activity is aimed at realizing. When an agent intends on taken an action he implements a kind of direct control or guidance over their own behavior. Agency also has to do with finding self-happiness because not only do you have to take an intentional action but you also have to be happy and enjoy what it is that you do.

Agency allows you take action in your everyday life. This concept is very useful because it helps develop a moral understating of happiness and how to take action. Personally in my everyday life agency is very useful because I can actually put all my desires into effect. One way I’m putting agency to use in my everyday life is by not allowing the down fall or lack of support prevent me from furthering my education and my desire to travel the world . Being that I have always had the desire to travel I will continue push forward every day to get to where I need with or without the help. As people become more aware of how affective this concept is their will be happy active agents and less stressful ones.

Agency can be a huge weapon. One way agency can be used as a weapon is by overcoming what people may say and actually pursue what it is you desired from the start. Many times people don’t realize that it’s not all about self and words can bring people down. For example someone may say that because of my lack of support I will not get a chance to travel the world, but I am still progressing even after the negativity.

In conclusion, I am able to say that agency is a physical activity and goal reached by desire and compassion. Agency is a very useful concept if able to stay focus on what you desire to do most. On the other hand it can also be used as a weapon to prove the actions is stronger than words.

Aristotle’s Moral Virtue

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Ismael Cedeno

After reading Aristotle’s “Moral Virtue” I have to agree with him stating “Character is developed through habit and is unnatural.” An individual is not born with developed character; character is developed through what a person is taught and the individual following through with the teachings. In the Moral Virtue text he informs readers moral virtue does not arise in us by nature. This is understandable to me due to events in my life that led me to practice different habits to better my life. Let’s look at athletes for example; they are not born to play sports. Athletes develop the skills needed in order to play the sport of their choice. So it is with humans we are not born good we become good through practice.

Habit + Experience = Character

Posted: July 25, 2013 in Dammion W.

Aristotle believes that character is not natural, and that it is developed through habit. Contemporary research suggests that some people are predisposed to develop in ways that are biologically ‘hard wired’ into them.
What do you think? Is character natural or unnatural? Use an example to explain your point of view.

I agree with Aristotle’s philosophical theory that character is not natural, it’s formed by habit. The reason I believe this to be true is because life teachings and experiences mold us into the individuals we are today. We are creatures that’s constantly developing and learning from our environment around us and personal/social relationships. I learned how to be polite and exercised it so that it becomes a natural instinct to me. I learned how to not use foul language in public or when I’m trying to get a point across, and through continuing to work on that trait (habit), it’s something that’s become second nature to me. Even though those things are so little, I wanted to keep it simple to get my point across. That’s how character is built. For me not to ever have had anyone or had not been an environment that I would have been able to learn those character traits, I wouldn’t know about being polite or not to curse in public and when having a conversation. I would think it’s acceptable because from the “habit” of it being used so frequently in my environment, I’m not aware of it being an issue. And this goes back to my point that we develop our character (good or bad) from our habits.

There are some people who would disagree and argue that some people are born with certain genetics that predisposes them to have certain characteristics already in them from birth. One of the issues would probably consist of, the controversial topic of one being born with a gene that predisposes them to committing rapes. I would respond to that by saying that I don’t believe that there is a gene that would literally FORCE people to rape. At the most, it might predispose a person to, but predispositions can be overcome by cultural training and everybody is taught that rape is wrong. So even if the sociobiological explanation of this type of behavior is correct, this has no implications of how we should act, who we should be or how we should run our society. Character cannot be deduced from science. Character is created by practice.

As we may know already Aristotle and Lao Tzu would both agree that habits create characters and character is unnatural.
However character for me is natural in the sense that we are all born good and due to our environment or immediate upbringing we learn bad or enhance our goodness. I must agree with the contemporary researcher’s suggestions of character that it is in our biological make up. For example if we knew no vice or virtue from birth how then could we connect to each other much less other creatures in a caring manner. Our world would have been over before it started.
Yet Aristotle make a valuable point about the very nature of character although he would disagree with it being natural he mentions that character can be developed, worked on, and made better. In which I agree with Aristotle totally that even with the good we have instilled in us, we must continue to feed it once we become aware of bad and the fruits of its labor. We can easily get lost in doing both for the sake of its benefits in a society that uses both good and bad to control and regulate its citizens therein leaving people in turmoil of guilt, depression, or miserable all these human feelings are a result of good struggling to come forth because it is in every human to be.

I tend to agree with Aristotle that character is unnatural, since ones character can be influenced by the environment In which one is raised.
Character as far as I am concerned, falls in two categories: good and bad. Therefore, it is up to one to choose, depending on the lifestyle one wishes to live. The fact that character is something that is developed over time ,I think it is not natural since for me it is not a thing someone is born with. For example, two brothers happened to have the same mother and same father. They grow up in the same environment but one chooses the life of becoming worthwhile contributing to society , while the other chooses to become a criminal. This shows that we become what we choose to become. It is not natural. We become good or bad by choosing to be and therefore practicing it. That makes our character. With the views that I have submitted, I firmly believe that character is not natural.