If any single point about Aristotle's views on the acquisition of moral virtue is most familiar, it is the thesis that virtue comes through habituation: We become virtuous by doing virtuous things. Since habituation has its effect on an irrational element in the soul, the entire process might be supposed to have no cognitive dimension. However, Burnyeat argues that the role of habituation and upbringing in moral development is not simply to provide irrational habits of choice but also to supply an essential cognitive element. … The necessary starting point for a philosophical study of virtue is not simply a collection of behavioral habits that happen to be in accordance with right reason but a collection of knowledge of a certain sort.



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