Aristotle's Definitions Of Virtues In Engineering

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Virtues are important to engineering because they can act as a guide for engineers to make morally correct choices. An engineer without virtues cannot be considered a good person; therefore, they will likely make immoral decisions that only benefit themselves. This paper will explore Aristotle’s understanding of eudaimonia and arête, the differences between virtues of thought and virtues of character, and several virtues that are important to engineering and will allow me to flourish over the course of my career.

According to Aristotle, eudaimonia (happiness) is a term that encompasses what it means to live well. He says eudaimonia is not a state of mind and does not come and go as happiness, in the traditional sense, can. Instead, it is an activity that involves virtuous actions and rational activity. In order to be eudaimonious, one must exhibit arête. Arête means virtue or excellence. An example is that knowledge is an excellence of the soul.

Aristotle mentions virtues of thought and virtues of character. Virtues of thought (intellectual virtues) promote critical thinking and the pursuit of truth. Aristotle mentions five virtues that allow the soul to reach the truth. An example of an intellectual virtue is techne. Techne involves arts, crafts, and skills. Virtues of character (moral virtues) are acquired by habit. They do not occur naturally and require repetitive training to master. Each moral virtue is a mean between two vices of excess and
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Truthfulness is emphasized tremendously in the engineering code of ethics. An engineer must always be truthful, honest, and act with integrity. Ambition is also vital to an engineer’s success. It is imperative that engineers do not become complacent in their work and always strive to achieve great things; however, it is equally important to stay grounded and not be consumed with avarice of power or
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