Virtue and Temperament

Posted November 9, 2017 5:57 am by Guest Contributor

Virtue and Temperament

Aristotle, who was continually interested in biological aspects of human behavior, made a distinction between “natural virtue” and “acquired virtue.” Natural virtue is related to basic biological inclinations, while virtue in the strict sense requires a rational application, often in the presence of difficulties, to develop habits of character.
Aristotle and Hippocrates
The authority regarding physiological aspects, for Aristotle, was Hippocrates, who had developed a theory connecting human diseases as well as emotions and behaviors with four bodily “humors” – blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, leading to four medical/psychic “types” and “temperaments” – choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholic.
Based on temperament,

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