德 / Virtue

德性与亚里士多德

记得我有一位教授曾经说过,把整个西方思想历史全部解释为对亚里士多德的注释不是说不通的,虽然他并不推荐这样的解读。亚里士多德对哲学的贡献多不胜数,他是西方“德性伦理学” (virtue ethics) 当之无愧的代表人物。德性伦理学与功利主义 (utilitarianism) 和义务论 (deontological ethics) 组成伦理学三大派别。三派的根本差异在于对行为上对错源头的定位:功利主义认为行为好坏源自于其带来的效果(好的标准是最大多数人的最大幸福);义务论认为行动的正确与否来自于是否符合一套规条原则;德性伦理学认为一个行为的对错来自于行动者的德性。而道德德性是人灵魂的一种状态,是灵魂的健康。像身体的健康一样,道德德性是客观的,它具体的表现也会因具体的情况而定,并不像数学公式似的一成不变。判断的标准则是明智的人在这个情况下会如何选择,而明智只有拥有整全美德的人才能拥有。最终,维基百科说的好,“一切聚焦在德”。

相对而言,功利主义和义务论实在把道德过于窄化、公式化。功利主义以一个好处为全部的好,好比说健康就是多长肌肉,长的越多越好,一切要以这个衡量。义务论则没有认清行为道德与理论的区别,好比说书本理论可以提供练就好身体所需的一切(实际上经验和对身体状况的直觉是多么不可替代呢?所以运动员不是去读五年体育理论,而是被放在经验丰富的教练手下练习)。两派都过于简化道德了。

而从亚里士多德的时代就有的道德怀疑论 (moral skepticism) 则偏向了另一面。这派主张道德是完全主观的,没有任何客观标准可言。现在的世代很流行怀疑论;后现代主义就是一种怀疑论,算是对现代主义对于事物、德性的简化窄化的一个反应。

那么,对道德来说过度公式化不好,放弃道德客观性又更令人不敢想,对于道德是什么,如何行德这个问题,这两个最明显的答案 ---

  1. 道德是客观的!来,这里是算出你应做的行为的公式。
  2. 没有客观道德一说!杀人、放火、以及其他一切都是人的偏好,没有什么永恒对错之说。

--- 都不甚可爱。

是否有第三条路?

是的!它就是德性伦理学。第一眼看,它没有那些过于简化的派别那么优雅。记得我对亚里士多德的第一印象是他的思想怎么这么繁琐,表述也没有柏拉图的文采。但德性和行动是复杂的,对象是具体的,与抽象的学科有着很明显的差别,难道解释它们的理论不应该与数学体系有所不同吗?亚里士多德、阿奎那不光阐明了什么是道德上的对、错、什么是德性,也用人性、物质本身等等更加基础的概念解释了为什么如此。进入他们的体系不容易,这体系也绝不局限于德性,但我由衷地认为这里面蕴含着哲学最大的宝藏。

由于道德的重要性和德性伦理学在当今中文圈受到冷落,我试图在这个帖子中粗略地总结几点亚里士多德对“德”为何物的洞见。

欢迎大家讨论分享,如果有高人路过看到我有哪里理解的不准确,也请您快快指出 :slight_smile:

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In Nichomachean Ethics 1106b36-1107a2, Aristotle defines human moral virtue:
在尼各马可伦理学 1106b36-1107a2 处,亚里士多德给出了“德” 的定义:

Def. Virtue, then, is a state of character concerned with choice, lying in a mean, i.e. the mean relative to us, this being determined by reason, and by that reason by which the man of practical wisdom would determine it.

定义. 德性是一种选择的品质,存在于相对于我们的适度之中。这种适度是由理性决定的,就是说,是像一个明智的人会做的那样的确定的。

I will outline the meanings of "virtue", "state of character", "choice", "mean", and "practical wisdom", as Aristotle presents them in Nichomachean Ethics.

我将总结出一些亚里士多德在本书中对 “德性”“品质”“选择”“适度之中”、和 ”明智” 的解释,为阐明这个定义。

Virtue 德性

Def. The virtue (arete), or excellence, of X is what makes X be in a good condition and makes the work (ergon) of X be done well. (1106a16-18)
定义. 每种德性都既使得它是其德性的那事物的状态好,又使得那事物的活动完成得好

  • E.g., the excellence of the eye makes both the eye and its work good; for it is by the excellence of the eye that we see well. (1106a17-18)
    比如,眼睛的既使得眼睛的状态好,又使得它们的活动完成得好(因为有一副好眼睛的意思就是看东西清楚)

When we talk about human virtue, we do not mean that of the body but that of the soul. It is, then, important to exposit the "anatomy" of the soul:
我们在说到人之德时,所指的不是人身体之德,而是人灵魂之德。既然如此,我们首先需要“剖析”灵魂的结构:

Division of the soul 灵魂的划分 (1102a - 1103a, 1139a7-10)

The human soul has two main parts:
人的灵魂分两大部分:

  1. The rational part, which has two parts:
    有理性的部分,又细分为两部分:

  2. Part for scientific reason: that by which we contemplate invariable things, i.e., the necessary and eternal.
    知识的部分:这部分思想不变的事情,也就是必须和永恒的事情

  3. Part for calculative reason: that by which we contemplate variable things, or things we can do something about. This is the faculty for deliberating on how to affect things that are within my control. (Anton Ford)
    推理的部分:这部分考虑能变的事情,我们用它来考虑如何改变自己力所能及,能够影响的事情。

  4. The irrational part, also divided into two parts:
    无理性的部分,同样再分为两部分:

  5. Appetitive part: that which desires things. In a sense, the appetitive part shares in reason: in a continent man, it obeys reason.
    欲望的部分:某种层面上,欲望的部分分有理性:在节制者或勇敢者身上它听从理性

  6. Vegitative part: that which causes nutrition and growth (the excellence of this part is common to all animals, so it is not human-specific virtue)
    植物性的部分:造成营养和生长的那个部分。所有生命物都有植物性,所以它不属于人的德性

According to the two main parts of the soul, human virtue is also divided into two main kinds:
德性的区分是同灵魂的划分相应的,有两大类:

  1. Intellectual virtues, which pertain to both parts of the rational part of the soul
    理智德性,关乎灵魂整个有理性的部分
  • E.g., philosophic wisdom, understanding, practical wisdom
    例如 智慧、理解、和明智
  1. Moral virtues, which pertains to the appetitive part of the soul
    道德德性,关乎灵魂欲望的部分
  • E.g. liberality, temperance, courage
    例如 慷慨、节制、和勇敢

Here, we focus on moral virtues.
这里,我们聚焦在道德德性上。

State of character 品质

  • Moral virtues are a state of character. They are not capacities, nor are they feelings or emotions.
    道德德性是一种品质。不是能力,不是情感。

    • Passions: things you feel; the feelings accompanied by pleasure or pain. E.g., appetite, anger, fear、 pity, etc. (1105b)
      情感:伴随着快乐与痛苦的感受。比如欲望、怒气、恐惧、怜悯、等等

    • Faculties/capacities: the things in virtue of which we are capable of feeling the passions
      能力:使我们能获得这些感情(例如愤怒或怜悯)的东西

    • States of character: the dispositions of those faculties to feel passions
      品质:决定 “能力” 如何去感受情感的倾向

  • Moral virtues are the healthy dispositions of the capacities that a person has to feel and to do things. (1104b, Anton Ford)
    道德德性是一个人感受和行动的能力的健康倾向(性情?)

  • States of character, hence moral virtues, are stable. This is because a state of character gives rise to activities, and those activities in turn strength that state of character whence they arose, ad infinitum. (In other words, it's an equilibrium!)
    品质,就包括道德德性,是稳定难移的。这是因为一种品质产生出相应的行动,而这些行动又会进一步加固产生出它们的品质,一直下去。

  • Moral virtue is about pleasure or pain, because moral virtues are concerned with actions and passions (i.e., feelings or emotions), and actions and passions are necessarily accompanied by pleasure or pain.
    道德德性是关于快乐与痛苦的,因为道德德性是关于活动和感情的。而快乐和痛苦必然伴随着活动。

    • It is on account of the pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of the pain that we abstain from noble ones. (1104b)
      快乐使得我们去做卑贱的事,痛苦使得我们逃避做高尚(高贵)的事。
    • It is by reason of pleasures and pains that men become bad, by pursuing or avoiding pleasure or pain they ought not to, when they ought not to, in a manner they ought not to, or going wrong in another similar way.
      灵魂的品质在本性上与那些会使它变好或者变坏的事物相联系。快乐或痛苦是使人品质变坏的原因:追求或逃避不应该追求或逃避的快乐或痛苦,或者在不适当的时间,以不适当的举止,或以其他不适当的方式追求或逃避他们

Choice 选择

  • What is by choice is necessarily voluntary.
    只有意愿行动才能是选择

The voluntary 意愿行动

Def. The voluntary is that of which the moving principle is in the agent himself, he being aware of the particular circumstances of the action. (1111a20)
出于意愿的行为是这样的:它的始因在当事者自身,而当事者者清楚明白行动所处的具体环境。

  • Accordingly, two things render an action fully involuntary: (1110b)
    相对下,两中情况使一个行为成为完全被迫的:

    1. Force: a person is forced in doing an action when the cause of that action is entirely in the external circumstances, and the agent contributes nothing. E.g., being blown from point A to point B by wind.
      被迫:行动的始因完全是外在的,行为者完全是无助的,例如被飓风裹。

    2. Ignorance: to do something by reason of ignorance is to act while ignorant of important particulars, i.e., the circumstances and object/end of the action.
      无知:当事人在作出行动时不知道重要的具体情况,就是环境情况和行动的对象/达成的效果。

      • It is not mistaken purpose that makes an action involuntary (it makes the agent wicked), nor ignorance of the universal (for that men are blamed).
        错误的目的或对原则的无知并不另一个行动成为被迫的。错误的目的意味着行为者是坏人,对原则的无知应受谴责。
    • An involuntary bad action is thought to be painful, whereas a bad action according to appetite is thought to be pleasant.
      违背意愿的坏行动一定会引发痛苦和后悔,而欲望造成的坏行为不是。
  • Both the voluntary and the involuntary must be used with reference to the moment of action. (1110a)
    意愿与非意愿行为都要依据行动当时来判定,在作决定的那一个时刻是否被迫、无知等

    • Cases like the throwing of goods overboard in a storm is a mixed action that is more like voluntary actions: in the abstract no one throws goods away voluntarily, but if doing so is necessary to secure the safety of the crew, then any sensible man would do so. In that moment the person makes a choice.
      在风暴中被迫把货物从船上扔下水一类的行动属于意愿和非意愿行动之间的混合型:在那个特定的时刻,它是被选择的,但如果不是非常的情况,没有人会选择丢弃自己的货物。

Back to choice:
回到选择:

  • Choice is not identical with: (1111b-1112a)
    选择等同于:
    • Anger or appetite, because choice involves reason and thought
      怒气或欲望,因为我们在作选择中需要理性和思考
    • Wish, since wish is about the end, whereas choice is about the means
      希望,因为希望是对于目的的,而选择是对于手段的
    • A kind of opinion, for by choosing what is good or bad we are men of a certain character, which we are not by holding certain opinions.
      某种意见。一个人的选择好坏表明他拥有的品德,而持有某些观点并不体现一个人的品格

Def. Choice is deliberate desire of things in our own power. (1113a9-10)
选择是经过考虑之后的、对力所能及的事情的期望

  • The object of choice is the same as the object of deliberation. That which has been decided upon as a result of deliberation is the object of choice.
    选择的对象就是考虑的对象。考虑得出的决定就是所作的选择。
    • Deliberation 考虑:
      • We deliberate about things that are in our power and can be done. It is about things that are not necessarily determined.
        考虑的范畴是在我们能力范围内可以努力获得的, 非必然的事物。

The Mean 适度之中

  • Morally virtuous acts cannot be prescribed precisely or formulaically (like the way mathematics can be), but they must avoid excess and defect. (1104a)
    实践逻辑是粗略的,对德行的讨论也不能以抽象的、脱离具体情况的方式像数学公式那样精确。但必须同时避免不及和过度。

    • E.g., there is no formula for ascertaining doing exactly what is being courageous in every circumstance, but all can observe that the man who fears and flees from everything is a coward, and the man who fears absolutely nothing but goes to meet every danger becomes rash.
      比如,没有公式可以告诉你每种情况下具体做什么是勇敢的,但人人皆知那什么都怕,一切都逃避的人是个懦夫,而那什么都不怕,跑去迎接所有危险的人则是鲁莽。
  • 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 (being praised and successful are both characteristics of virtue). Therefore virtue is a kind of mean, because it aims at what is intermediate. (1107a)

    • It is a mean between two vices: "overdoing it" and "underdoing it" per the circumstances. Excess and defect are the two opposites of every virtue.
      • In other words, every excellence has the logical feature of being a "mean". (Ford)
    • It is NOT about the arithmetic mean, not about so-called "moderation".
    • In general, one cannot have just the right amount (the mean) of either "overdoing it" or "underdoing it"; nor can one have too much or too little of the mean.
      • For example, "Murder", "injustice", and the like are names for overdoing/underdoing it. "Justice", "temperance", and the like are names for hitting the mark. There is no such thing as just enough murder, or too much justice. (Ford)
    • Example of "virtue as mean" applied to particular virtues: courage and temperance.
      • With regard to feelings of fear and confidence, courage is the mean. People who exeed in fearlessness has no name (many of the states have no name); the man who exceeds in confidence is rash; he who exeeds in fear and falls short in confidence is a coward.
      • With regard to pleasures, the mean is temperance, the excess self-indulgence. There seldom are persons deficient with regard to pleasures, so such persons have received no name (Aristotle names them "insensible").
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Practical Wisdom

(1140a-b)

  • It is thought to be a mark of practical wisdom to be able to deliberate well about what is good and expedient for oneself, what is conducive to the good life in general (what to do . In the general sense, the man who is capable of deliberating has practical wisdom.
    • Practical wisdom is that which correctly ascertains what leads to the true goal of human life, or what that goal entails in each particular situation.

Def. Practical wisdom is a true and reasoned state of capacity to act with regard to human goods.

  • Practical wisdom is "a necessary part or facet of virtue" (Ross). Virtue is not merely the state in accordance with correct reason, but the state that implies the presence of correct reason. (1144b24-26)

  • A person cannot be practical wise without being morally virtuous.

    • A distorted relationship with pleasure and pain (i.e., one without virtue) ruins one's ability to see the purpose, which is the starting point, of actions. Without knowledge of the end, the unvirtuous person cannot see what should be chosen for the sake of that end. In other words, the unvirtuous person cannot possess practical wisdom.
  • Practical wisdom closely resembles moral virtue.
    - "In both practical wisdom and virtue, we prefer an unintentional mistake to a deliberate one. In art and in general expertise, the reverse is true: the more skilled practitioner is the one who, for example, plays a wrong note intentionally." (David Ross)
    - Both practical wisdom and virtue are not things people readily forget.

  • Practical wisdom is a separate state of the soul from scientific knowledge (episteme) and from art (techne).

    • It cannot be scientific knowledge or art: its object is not eternal truths, nor is it concerned with making things.
      • Difference between making and action: making has an end other than the action itself, while action cannot.

So, practical wisdom presupposes, or even is a part of, the possession of moral virtue.