Benjamin Franklin: Ethics And Virtues

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In a world where morals, ethics and virtues are constantly debated, it pays to acknowledge two great men who had a profuse influence on society during their time. Benjamin Franklin was born in January of 1706, in Boston to puritan parents. While alive Benjamin Franklin was well known amongst his peers for his numerous accomplishments in a variety of areas. He had the burning desire to be as moral and virtuous as possible even though conceding perfection is impractical. On the other hand, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, born in 384 B.C, parents unknown, was also exceedingly popular in his society for his exceptional work believed morality as well as ethics are based on logicality and reflection. Despite being alive centuries before Benjamin…show more content…
They supposed that anyone seeking virtues should seek them because they are practical and have ‘real-world’ benefits, “…vicious actions are not hurtful because they are forbidden, but forbidden because they are hurtful, the nature of man alone considered; that it was, therefore, everyone’s interest to be virtuous who wished to be happy…”( Franklin 1973/2016, p. 65). Along those lines Aristotle also stated, “But for actions in accord with the virtues to be done temperately or justly it does not suffice that they themselves have the right qualities. Rather, the agent must also be in the right state when he does them” (Aristotle, 2005, p. 578). They believed the only way to become virtuous was by doing virtuous actions. Aristotle believed that virtuous actions was something that had to be learned in addition into turning it into a habit, “For we learn a craft by producing the same product that we must produce when we have learned it…” (Aristotle, 2005, p. 578). Meanwhile, Benjamin created a “little notebook” in which he created a page for each of the virtues to mark as he learned and fulfilled…show more content…
For example, Aristotle believed that all humans shared a common. Aristotle believed that all like things have one aspect that they share with each other that no other living thing or object does as well, “we have found, then, that the human function is activity of the soul in accord with reason or requiring reason” (Aristotle, 2005, p. 574). Benjamin Franklin completely disregards the idea of all human beings sharing a common function. In addition, Benjamin Franklin also believed that people should set out to imitate Jesus, “It will be remarked that, tho’ my scheme was not wholly without religion…” (Franklin, 1973/2016, p. 64). Aristotle’s work remained completely uninfluenced and untouched by religion. Benjamin Franklin’s drive for becoming virtuous comes from a place of selfishness. Franklin lists of virtues focus on how the individual will benefit, not society as a whole, “…and to the joint influence of the whole mass of the virtues, even in the imperfect state he was able to acquire them, all that evenness of temper, and that cheerfulness in conversation, which makes his company still sought for, and agreeable even to his younger acquaintance” (Franklin, 1973/2016, p. 65). Aristotle focuses on how individuals becoming virtuous is beneficial for society as a whole, “What wise count as self-sufficient is not what suffices for a solitary person by himself, living an isolated life,
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