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PREFACE

My professional career has ended and I am now happily


retired. However, there are a few unpublished papers that
I would like to make available. While research on the
hedonic view of happiness and well-being has flourished
very little has focused on Aristotles eudaimonic theory.
These might add something to the existing literature.
I believe that virtue is the most important, but greatly
misunderstood, idea in Aristotles theory. I have
included several chapters on the topic of virtue in a
recent book entitled THE PSYCHOLOGY OF HAPPINESS: A GOOD
HUMAN LIFE, published by Cambridge University Press.
I have also included a study on crowding that may be of
interest. It suggests that crowding and scarcity of
resources may lead to both political and social upheaval.
Although the study was conducted in the 1970s it may
portend the future for some.

AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF
ARISTOTLE'S CONCEPT OF VIRTUE
AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO
WELLBEING

Samuel S. Franklin California State University,

Fresno

PAPER PRESENTED AT THE MEETING OF THE WESTERN PSYCHOLOGICAL


ASSOCIATION
LOS ANGELES
APRIL, 1994

AN EMPIRICAL EXAMINATION OF ARISTOTLE'S CONCEPT OF VIRTUE AND ITS


RELATIONSHIP TO WELL-BEING

SAMUEL S. FRANKLIN
CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY, FRESNO

Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics

(NE) contains a well developed and

elaborate theory of the good life which he called 'eudaimonia.'

Although

the eudaimonic theory has been largely overlooked by contemporary


researchers of well-being and happiness, we believe it has much to offer.
The theory is based upon the assumption that a good life is achieved to
the extent that one actualizes or fulfills potentials.

Aristotle would

probably very much agree with Ryff's observation that "Central emphasis
has been given to short-term affective well-being (i.e. happiness), at the
expense of more enduring life challenges such as having a sense of purpose
and direction, and achieving a sense of self-realization" (Ryff,

1989).

Actualization requires the satisfaction of certain needs. According to


Aristotle we have both physical and psychological needs, or 'needs of the
soul', as he called them, such as the need for friends, art, learning,
etc.

In eudaimonic theory, how we fulfill our needs is crucial.

Aristotle emphasizes the necessity of acquiring the things we need at the


right time, in the right amount and in the way.

Most of the things we

need, or 'real goods' as Aristotle called them, are 'limited'; we need


them for actualization, but only in certain amounts and only at certain
times, and they may be good only if obtained in certain ways.

Food, for

example, is a real good but it is not beneficial in unlimited quantities,


at any time and under all circumstances.
too much food is equally harmful.
things we need.

Too little food is damaging and

The same may be said for most all the

In most things we are well advised to seek the 'golden

mean'.
To correctly obtain what we need, virtue is required.
...if virtue , like nature, requires more accuracy and is better
than any art, then it will aim at the mean.... In feeling fear,
confidence, desire, anger, pity, and in general pleasure and pain,
one can feel too much or too little; and both extremes are wrong.
The mean and the good is feeling at the right time, about the right
things, in relation to the right people, and for the right reason;
and the mean and the good are the task of virtue.
Similarly, in
regard to actions there are excess, deficiency, and the mean.
(Nichomachean Ethics [NE] II, 5. Bambrough, 1963, p. 309)
While Aristotle may appear to be uncompromising about what is 'right', he
is not. Right is always defined relative to the person. Aristotle says "We
may now define virtue as a disposition of the soul in which, when it has
to choose among actions and feelings, it observes the mean relative to
us..." (NE II, 5. Bambrough, 1963, p. 309)

Virtue is a complex idea that became terribly misunderstood when it fell


into the company of words like sin and chastity during the middle ages
(Maclntyre, 1981).

As the ancient Greeks used the term, however, virtue

is an extremely meaningful concept and I think translatable into the


language of contemporary psychology.

It is the purpose of this paper to

attempt such a translation and to empirically examine the relationship


between virtue and well-being.

First, I will attempt to show that

Aristotle's concept of virtue is composed of several measurable


psychological processes.

VIRTUE AND REASON


The first component of virtue is reason.
have the capacity to think.
unique function.

For the Greeks, only humans

Reason is our ergon, our highest and most

with reason..."

"The function of man is activity of soul in accordance


(NE I. 7. Bambrough, p. 293).

According to Aristotle

there are two related but distinguishable types of reason.

Intellectual

virtue refers to something like our general intelligence, abstract


reasoning, theory, and the understanding of general principle.

It

appears to be somewhat similar to what we now call fluid intelligence.


Moral virtue, on the other hand, refers to the ability to apply general
principles to specific instances.
intelligence.

It is sometimes called practical

Moral virtue must be learned by doing, by practice.

"Moral virtue is a product of habit" (NE II, 1. Bambrough, p. 303).


And, it is important to acquire moral virtue early in life:

"It makes no

small difference, then, whether we form habits of one kind or another from
our very youth; it makes a very great difference, or rather all the
difference." (NE II, 1. Ross, p.29)

VIRTUE AND DESIRE


A second component of virtue is desire. Today we might call
desire motivation.

Action alone cannot be virtuous; the

motivation which propels the behavior must also be considered.


Wanting to do what is right and best (relative to your life) is
as important as the act itself.

Urmson notes that the virtuous

person wants to be virtuous and enjoys virtuous action.


"..whether one has excellent character (virtue)
... depends not
merely on what one does but also on what one likes doing."
Virtue is a..."settled disposition to want to act and to act in a
way appropriate to the situation."
(Urmson, 1988. p.26 ff)

VIRTUE AND CHOICE


Reason and desire combine to produce the third component of virtue:
choice.

"Choice, therefore,

along with thought."

is thought along with desire, or desire

(NE VI. 2. Bambrough

p. 345.)

Adler (1980) notes

"... moral virtues are habits of making the right choices..."

(p.94).

Once we know the appropriate action, and desire it, we must choose to
behave appropriately.

Choice mediates between knowing - wanting and

acting.

VIRTUE AND SELF-CONTROL


A fourth component of virtue is self-control or restraint. Aristotle
acknowledges that desires may compete with each other and that restraint
is often required.

We may know the best thing to do, and desire it too,

but we may also know and desire a contrary action.

Self control

influences our choice.

"Virtue is within our power, and so, too is vice.

The point is that where we can act, we can also refrain, and vice versa"
(NE III. 5. Bambrough p. 323).

To act one way frequently requires that

we inhibit an alternative response.

VIRTUE AND ACTION/FEELING


Finally, there is the virtuous action itself.

Virtuous action includes

behavior and emotion appropriately chosen; at the correct time, in the


right amount, for the right reason.

For Aristotle, action and feeling go

together, feeling 'supervenes upon acts'.


effective; pain and act go together.
or wrongly has no

That is why punishment can be

"...to feel delight and pain rightly

small effect on our actions."

"...virtue then, is

concerned with pleasures and pains, and ....the acts from which [they
arise]" (NE II, 3. Ross, p. 33).

Virtue then, includes several psychological functions all of which serve


to guide us toward the goods we need for actualization.

Virtue "...is

concerned with passions and actions, in which excess is a form of failure,


and so is defect, while the intermediate is praised and is a form of
success..." (NE II, 6. Ross p. 38).

Summarizing what we have said above, the concept of virtue includes the
following psychological functions:
KNOWING the appropriate thing to do and feel, both
theoretically and practically, by application of correct
principle to the current circumstance.

DESIRING/WANTING to act and feel appropriately.

CHOOSING the appropriate action and feeling.

SELFCONTROL, or the inhibition of competing behaviors and


emotions.

ACTING and FEELING appropriately.

The present investigation was an attempt to examine this theoretical


structure of virtue and its relationship to well-being.

PROCEDURES
Subjects were 68 advanced undergraduate psychology students, 16 males,
females and 4 subjects who did not declare their gender.
was 25.55 years.

48

Their mean age

The disproportionate number of females was the result

of our psychology department's student population in which females are


strongly over represented.

This is not particularly disconcerting to the

author since in this study, and in earlier investigations of the


problem,

age and sex have not been important to the study of well-being

and its causes.

(Costa, et. al., 1987; Franklin, LaMarca, & Barton 1991;

Franklin and Torzynski, 1993).

The subjects were given three different packets of psychological scales


over the course of a semester.
and out of class.

The scales were completed both in class

The rate of return was 86%.

Not all subjects

completed all scales or all items of each scale so the N's for different
variables and analyses vary slightly.

SCALES

REASON/THINKING
Three scales were used to measure virtuous thinking.

Moral virtue or

practical thinking, was measured by the Decision Making Scale (DMS)


consisting of 12 items.
life;

The items identified 12 different domains of

family, education, friends, work, etc., and Ss rated their

'decision making ability' and 'the quality of the solutions they usually
find' for the day to day problems in each domain.

A Likert type scale

was used where 1 was bad and 5 described excellent decision making.
This was the first time the DMS has been used and the correlation alpha of
.72 seems quite reasonable. Because the 12 items of the scale refer to
different life domains we might expect a less than perfect inter-item
correlation.

A second measure of moral virtue consisted of the four 'ways' items from
the Will And Ways Scale (

).

A similar

Likert type scale was used here to rate statements like "I can think of
many ways to get out of a jam" and "Even when others get discouraged, I
know I can find a way to solve the problem."

The alpha obtained in the

present study was .69, not especially impressive, but since the scale had
only 4 items and since it correlated reasonably well (r =

.55, p <

.00)

with the DMS measure it was decided to combine the two to derive our
measure of moral virtue.

The third measure of reason was an attempt to tap the more generalized,
theoretical thinking that Aristotle called intellectual virtue.

For this

purpose four subscales from the Constructive Thinking Inventory

(Epstein

& Meier, 1989)

were used.

The subscales are designed to measure

categorical thinking, superstitious thinking, esoteric thinking, and naive


optimism.

All these subscales are potential impediments and blocks to

good generalized thinking.

A person high in 'categorical thinking',

('making... undifferentiated judgments'), for example, would be likely to


exhibit poor intellectual virtue because of a prevailing tendency to
overgeneralize.

A person high in superstitious thinking, e.g.

one who agrees with the statement 'When something bad happens to
me,

I feel that more bad things are likely to follow' would also

seem to reason poorly.

Of the four intellectual virtue measures, only

two; the Superstitious Thinking and the Categorical Thinking scales were
shown to be statistically tied to the variables of the present study.

Therefore, early in the data analyses a new measure consisting of the 8


item Superstitious Thinking scale and the 12 item Categorical Thinking
scale was created and used in all analyses involving intellectual virtue.
In the present study, the inter-item alpha's of the two measures

were .80

and .74 for the superstitious and categorical thinking scales,


respectively.

Since intellectual virtue was measured by scales designed

to tap the opposite of good generalized thinking, the label 'ContraIntellectual Virtue' is used throughout the paper to refer to performance
on this scale.

DESIRE AND CHOICE


Aristotle claims that the truly virtuous persons wants to feel and act
appropriately.

Some like and enjoy doing the right thing while others do

not. The present study does not include the data on desire and choice but
leaves them for examination in later papers.

SELF-CONTROL
Several measures of self-control were employed. The Deferred Gratification
Scale (Ray and Najman, 1986), the NEO Impulsiveness subscale (Costa and
McRae, 1985), The Procrastination Scale (Tuckman, 1991), and two subscales
from Epstein and Meier's (1989) Constructive Thinking Inventory: The
Emotional Coping (CTIEC) and the Behavioral Coping

(CTIBC)

subscales.

These two subscales consisted in a combined total of 37 items all of which


refer to the subjects capacity to moderate his or her feelings and
actions.

Sample guestions from the emotional coping subscale read as

follows:

"The slightest indication of disapproval gets me upset" and "I

don't worry about things I can do nothing about." Sample behavioral coping
items are:

"When I realize I have made a mistake, I usually take

immediate action to correct it" and " When I have a lot of work to do by a
deadline, I waste a lot of time worrying about it instead of just doing
it."

All self-control measures correlated significantly with each other

but a hierarchical regression analysis to virtuous behavior (see below)


led us to restrict our attention to only the two coping scales from the
Constructive Thinking inventory.
respectable levels;

Their correlation alpha's reached

.89 and .85 for the Emotional Coping and Behavioral

Coping scales respectively.

VIRTUOUS BEHAVIOR
The present investigation did not measure virtuous behavior directly but
did examine the disposition to respond appropriately.

The Self Appraisal

Scale (SAS) was constructed to assess ones ability to attain the right
amount, at the right time, and in the right way.

From Urmson's list

(1988, p.34) of the ancient Greek virtues several of the most commonly
recognized (including temperance, courage, liberality,

justice, and

pride) were selected and used to construct 48 True / False items regarding
the tendency to engage in virtuous behavior.

For example, the first

item "I give too freely of myself" is intended to tap ones ability to give
the right amount (liberality) of himself to others.

Another item,

"I

tend to seek the easy way out in most situations" concerns ones 'courage',

the ability to endure temporary discomfort for future gains.

"I always

want to win" was used to measure the virtue Aristotle calls justice.

The

SAS, designed as a measure of the disposition for virtuous behavior, has


been successfully used in previous investigations (Franklin, LaMarca &
Barton, 1992, Franklin & Torzynski, 1993). It's alpha in the present
investigation was .88.

NEED SATISFACTION
The Satisfaction Index (SI) was developed to assess the acquisition of
real goods.

The scale consisted of the same 12 life domains appearing in

the Decision Making Scale (family, work, money,

love, etc.) and subjects

rated each on a 1 (terrible) to 5 (Great) Likert scale regarding

"...

the quality of each area of your life over the last few years?"

It was

assumed that a qualitative judgment regarding a particular domain would


reflect the level of need satisfaction in that area.

The domain items

were presented in a different order than they assumed on the DMS.

WELL-BEING
The recent literature on happiness and well-being seems to be in general
agreement regarding two fundamental components a good life:

life

satisfaction and a favorable balance of positive and negative affect


(Diener, 1984).

This modern view seems quite consistent with Aristotle's

notion of eudaimonia.

Surely, he would agree that happy people, people

who fulfill their potentials, would find their lives both satisfying and
pleasurable.

Thus, well-being, the major dependent variable in this

study, was operationalized in this way.

Life satisfaction was measured

by the Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen and Griffen
1983).

Affect was assessed by the Affect Balance Scale (Bradburn, 1969).

Both measures are widely used by researchers in the area of happiness and
well- being and both have much to recommend them.

In the present study

the alpha for the Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) was .87.

Separate

correlation alpha's for the positive and negative affect sub-scales of the
Affect Balance Scale

(ABS)

were

.91 and

.50, respectively.

RESULTS

The purpose of this investigation was to empirically examine the


theoretical structure of Aristotle's concept of virtue and to further
assess his claim that virtue is essential to well-being. The scales used
are presented in Table 1, along with their means, standard deviations, and
alpha's.

Table 2 presents a correlation matrix of the variables.

It

may be noted from Table 2 that most of the scales, although structured
very differently and intended to measure very different psychological
processes, are quite highly correlated.

While alternative explanations

for these correlations may be possible,

(e.g. all measures may reflect

the same psychological construct), we believe the relationships shown in


Table 2 lend strong support to the eudaimonic theory.

The model presented in Figure I will serve as a guide for our discussion
of the results.

It

should

be

noted

at

the

outset

that

neither

age

nor

sex

was

significantly correlated with any of the measures used in the study.

VIRTUOUS THINKING AND MORAL ACTION


In the eudaimonic model the most important determinant of virtuous
behavior is good thinking.

One can not do the appropriate thing unless he

or she knows what is appropriate.


but related forms of reason.

Such knowledge consists of two distinct

First, intellectual virtue requires that we

understand certain principles which can be used to guide our actions. For
example, to be just, we must understand the idea of fairness. But an
intellectual understanding is not enough.
this knowledge.

We must be able to select the right amount of fairness

for the situation at hand.


virtue.

We must also know how to use

We need both intellectual virtue and moral

From Table 2 it can be seen that while contra-intellectual and

moral virtue are significantly correlated (r = -.29, p =


correlation is not especially high.

.03)

the

This finding is consistent with

Aristotle's dichotomous treatment of virtuous thinking.

Table 2 also reveals that both contra-intellectual and moral virtue are
significantly related to moral action.

Poor general thinking, assessed

by the categorical and superstitious thinking subscales of the CTI,


correlated -.53

(p <.000) with SAS scores.

Moral virtue, (combined DEC

and WAYS scales) correlated .52 (p < .000) with the SAS.

Both forms of

virtuous thinking are strongly associated with virtuous action.

SELF CONTROL AND MORAL ACTION


While adequate knowledge is essential to moral action, it is not enough.
We must also be able to restrain some actions in favor of others.
Several measures of self-control were administered (CTIEC, CTIBC,
Procrastination, Deferred Gratification) but when regression analyses
revealed that the two scales from Epstein's CTI were actually inclusive of

the others, our operational definition collapsed to the combined CTIEC


(emotional coping) and CTIBC (behavioral coping) scores which we labeled
Self-Control. Table 2 shows that Self-Control is strongly related to all
variables of the model but especially to SAS (virtuous action), r = .72
< .000).

(p

Once again, Aristotle's model appears to be supported.

Restraint as well as reason is integral to moral action.

It is also interesting to note in Table 2 that virtuous thinking and selfcontrol are far from independent.

The strong relationships between these

measures are quite consistent with the confusion in Aristotle's writings


over the importance of will (self-control) in eudaimonic theory, and
whether will can be explained entirely in terms of reason and thinking
(Dahl, 1984).

This is not an issue, however that can be addressed in the

present paper.

VIRTUE AS A MEANS
Another confusion in Aristotle's writings concerns the issue of whether
virtue, that is, the interaction of reason, restraint, choice, desire, and
action, is a means to happiness, or is happiness itself.

Aristotelian

scholars differ on the question but some suggest both views are correct.
The position taken in this paper is that virtuous thinking and selfcontrol permit virtuous action, which in turn enables the acquisition of
the goods we need for fulfillment.

That is, virtue is a means. While not

explicitly proposed by Aristotle, we predicted that virtuous behavior


would be highly correlated with need satisfaction.
prediction.

Table 2 supports this

The correlation between the SAS (virtuous behavior) and the

SI (Satisfaction Index) is .47 (p <.O00).

Those who act appropriately

appear to acquire the goods they need.

VIRTUE AND WELL-BEING


According to the model presented in Figure 1 getting the external and
psychological goods we need leads to happiness; to well-being.

Although I

have some doubts whether Aristotle would limit his definition of happiness
to life satisfaction and a positive affect balance, I think he would
concur that they are important pieces of the good life.
demonstrates support for the eudaiemonic theory.

Table 2 again

Need satisfaction (SI)

is strongly correlated with both Life Satisfaction (r = .60, p < .000) and
with Affect Balance (r = .40, p = .001).

It can be noted here,

incidentally, that support for the intrinsic value of virtue might also be
found in the substantial correlations between the two measures of wellbeing (SWLS and ABS) and virtue (reason, restraint and moral action),
without regard to need satisfaction.

REGRESSION ANALYSES
A series of hierarchical regression analyses was used to further examine
the data.

In the first analysis the SAS (virtuous action) scores served

as the dependent variable.

The intellectual and moral virtue measures and

the self-control scores were the predictors.

Moral virtue (as measured by

the combined DEC and WAYS) predictS 29% of the variance in the moral

action scores, contra-intellectual virtue (CTICT + CTIST) accounted for


another 14%, and self-control (CTIEC & CTIBC subscales) explained an
additional 12 %.

Altogether then, the three independent variables

comprising virtuous thinking and self-control explain 56% of the variance


in moral action.

It appears from the Beta weights shown in Table 4 that

the three independent variables (contra-intellectual and moral virtue and


self-control) are relatively independent at this level in the model.

In the second step of the hierarchical regression analysis need


satisfaction (SI) served as the dependent variable while moral action
(SAS) was added to the predictors used in step 1.

By this procedure the

contribution of all four variables to need satisfaction can be assessed.


The independence of the predictors is reflected in their Beta weights.
Taking Figure 1 and Table 4 together then, reveals that the four variables
above need satisfaction (SI) explain 59% of its variance.

As might be

expected from the model, contra-intellectual and moral virtue still retain
some of their individual contributions to SI but moral action (SAS),
being strongly influenced by the predictors above it, looses its unique
predictive power.

The third and fourth steps of the hierarchical analysis regressed all
predictor variables of the Model to the constructs that define well-being;
Life Satisfaction and Affect Balance.

From Table 4 we note that all

variables of the model explained 49% of life satisfaction, and 26% of the
affective dimension of well-being.

Table 4 also reveals that none of the Beta weights remain significant in
the final steps of the hierarchical analysis. This finding seems to make
good sense in the context of the model.

Reason and restraint are the

basis of moral action, moral action enables the acquisition of the goods
we need, and the latter is the basis of well-being.
the model are interrelated.

All variables of

Thus, while it is clear that reason and

restraint are the basis for about half the variance in life satisfaction,
their effects are disbursed over the mediating variables of moral action
and need satisfaction, thus dissipating most of their individual
contribution.

DISCUSSION

Virtue plays a cardinal role in Aristotle's theory of the good life.


Actualization requires that needs be met correctly; in the right amount,
at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason.
enables us to 'hit the target.'

Virtue

One of the goals of this investigation

was to examine the theoretical structure of virtue.

To this end, we

looked at the relationships between the two types of reason, self


control, and moral action/feeling.

VIRTUE AND REASON


Intellectual virtue may be characterized as "understanding" or "reasoning
cogently and validly", or by the "grasp of what is most fundamental-first
principles", or by "the powers of the mind." (Adler, 1990, p.175 ff).
Moral virtue applies reasoning and understanding to the practical matters
of living.

Moral virtue depends, in part, on intellectual virtue but

the two are by no means, uniformly aligned.

For a variety of reasons,

theoretical knowledge may not be used or may be applied incorrectly.


The less than perfect union of the two kinds of reasoning seems to be
supported by the data.

The correlation between our contra-intellectual

and moral virtue measures was only -.29 (p = .03).

To do the right thing

requires that we understand certain principles and apply them correctly;


but variables, like desire, choice, self-control and the habits
developed over a life time also play a role in the practical world.
Theoretically then, the modest correlation between intellectual and moral
virtue seems consistent with eudaimonic theory.

The failure of previous

investigations to find a connection between general or fluid


intelligence, (which cannot be too far removed from what Aristotle called
intellectual virtue) and well-being (Diener, 1984; Epstein & Meier, 1989,
Valiant, 1977) might be explained by the neglect of moral virtue and all
the variables which affect it.

In eudaimonic theory, both are required.

VIRTUE AND SELFCONTROL


There is controversy in the philosophical literature regarding the role
of will in Aristotle's ethics (Dahl, 1984).

On the one hand he seems to

recognize the importance of restraint and self-control, and on the other


he suggests that restraint is ultimately explained by reason, or its
deficiencies.

It can be argued that the person who fails to act rightly

does so because of ignorance not because of weakness.

"No man chooses

evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he


seeks." (Mary Wollstonecraft).

Dahl (1984) believes Aristotle does

provide a place for will or self-control and emphasizes Aristotle's


concept of Akrasia, or the 'weakness of will'.

The findings concerning the relationship between reason and self-control


appear

to

mirror

the

confusion

in

the

philosophical

literature.

hierarchical regression analysis showed that contra-intellectual virtue


explained 31% of the variance in self-control and moral virtue accounted
for another 16%.

Poorly managed behavior may well be caused by poor

thinking, both theoretical and practical.

It is also possible that

thinking and self-control are bi-directionally related.

In any case, the

link between self-control and cognition is we11-documented.

Lazarus

(1991) suggests that emotional and behavioral reactions are regulated by


our

cognitive

appraisal.

There

is

still

much

to

learn

about

the

relationship of self-control and virtuous thinking.

VIRTUE AND ACTION/FEEING


The coupling of action and feeling has a long tradition in psychology
(James, 1890; Klinger, 1977), but Aristotle antedates them all.
includes both, in concert; two aspects of the same thing.
this is the essence of the good life.

virtue" -

And, maybe that's what

"..happiness is activity of the soul in conformity with

period!

Our examination of the relationship between virtue

and well-being might stop here.


action/feeling.
thing.

And, maybe

If we think, desire, control and

choose correctly we will act/feel correctly.


happiness is.

Virtue

Virtue culminates in virtuous

Virtue and happiness may be two aspects of the same

There is much to be said for this position and Aristotle does

not hesitate to embrace it.

The data also seem to support it. Reason and

self-control account for 56% of the variance in virtuous behavior (SAS)


and virtuous behavior is strongly correlated with well-being.

Table 2

clearly shows that the correlations of contra-intellectual virtue, moral


virtue and virtuous behavior with the two well-being measures are all
highly significant.

Virtue alone may bring happiness.

However, Aristotle takes the other side too.

We also need goods. "It is

impossible to do fine acts without a supply of 'goods' "...happiness does


seem to requires this external bounty." (NE I, 8. Brambough, p. 296).
Aristotle seems comfortable with both sides: virtue is an end, and virtue
is a means.

Virtuous action/feeling is a means to the goods we need for growth; for


fulfillment and actualization.

Table 2 indicates a significant

relationship between our SAS measure of virtuous action and the SI


measure of need satisfaction (r = .47, p < .00).

Figure 1 tells us

that almost 60% of the variance in need satisfaction comes from virtue.
As the eudaimonic theory claims, virtue pays off, both intrinsically, and
by moving us toward

the perfection that Aristotle believed was in the

reach of everyone. (NE I, 9, Brambrough, p.296)

Figure 1 reveals that virtue, by its intrinsic value, and by the goods it
delivers, predicts about 50 percent of the variance in life satisfaction
and about 25 percent of our affect.

Good thinking and self-control

appear to be much more important to our lives than most of the extrinsic
goods we usually dream about. Fortune, youth, education, occupation, and
the like, the things we usually equate with the good life, are far less
important to our well-being.
1976; Myers, 1992).

(Andrews and Withey, 1974; Campbell,

Virtue is an old idea, but it's still a good one.

REFERENCES

Adler, M.J.

(1980) Aristotle for everybody.

New York: Bantam.

Andrews, F. M., & Witney, S. B. (1976).


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