The Ethics of Virtue
Moral virtue, Socrates says, is rooted in moral wisdom. Moral wisdom refers to one’s knowledge of the good. What is the moral good? The opposite of wisdom is ignorance. Virtue is the knowledge of the good. A person of virtue therefore is a man of wisdom. Moral wisdom requires self-examination. Wisdom, Socrates tells us, is about “knowing thyself.”
The practice of the good is called phronesis. For Aristotle, moral virtue signifies the capacity to be excellent in doing things. Moral wisdom does not come from a single act of kindness or honesty. It is a habit. It is grounded in the way a person lives. As such, it comes from the practice of the good. This constitutes what moral character is all about.