Like his predecessor Socrates and his successors the Stoics, Aristotle wants to hold that virtue is a state of character immune to good and bad fortune. Yet he is aware of the implausibility in the thesis that virtue alone is sufficient for happiness. In some passages. he concedes that such goods of fortune as noble birth. wealth. and beauty are necessary. not in order to be virtuous. but only as instruments to enable an already established virtuous disposition to continue in the unimpeded exercise of good action for a happy life overall. Although eutuchia may play a role in maintaining a good state of character, presumably being or becoming virtuous is not subject to luck. But elsewhere Aristotle acknowledges that natural and social contingencies infect the formation of character and consequently our ability to flourish. This suggests that virtue and happiness are functions of constitutive and situational forms of luck. I shall demonstrate that Aristotle's admission of such contingencies undermines what he endeavors to show throughout his ethical writings. Namely, that no one can be virtuous through luck or chance.
"Virtue and Luck in Aristotle’s Ethics,"
University of Dayton Review: Vol. 19:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://ecommons.udayton.edu/udr/vol19/iss3/4