Moral Character and Habit
What is the connection between habit and moral character? Do you think a bad habit is indicative of bad moral character or are habits, by definition, more objective in their scope?
Believing that the function of humans was solely to live and reason, Aristotle thought that there were two different types of virtues: being intellectually virtuous consists of actively exercising our reasoning abilities; and exercising our rational abilities in moderating impulses and appetites brings one to be morally virtuous which is indicative of good moral character; the connection between habit and moral character lies in the mean between extremes concept found in the largest part of “Nicomachean Ethics,” Aristotle’s major ethical work.
If a person does not fulfill his or her function to live and reason, that person does not likely possess habits in accordance with a good moral character, for failing to fulfill the human function to reason thereby lacks intellectual virtuosity; one that lacks intellectual virtuosity likely lacks habits in accordance with moral virtuosity as well; failing to actively exercise our reasoning abilities precedes not being able to exercise our reasoning abilities in moderating impulses and appetites, and therefore may lead to a less desirable moral character.
Too many bad habits that negatively affect others I believe indicates a bad and/or less desirable moral character; on the other hand, Aquinas believes that if a person acts as he or she honestly thinks is morally right and if involuntary ignorance causes the mistake in thinking that led to a morally wrong decision, the person has not sinned or made a morally wrong choice due to a lack of morally wrong intent.