Aristotle’s Concept of Virtue in the Context of Contemporary Nigeria

Ushie, Abel Idagu, Bisong, Peter Bisong, Odok, Joseph Abang


For over two decades now Nigeria has been named among the most corrupt countries in the world by transparency international. This is surprising considering the religiosity of its citizens. Nigeria is a very religious country with the three major religions (Muslim, Christianity and traditional religion) having a good number of adherents. The question that spurred up this research is; why is Nigeria lacking so much behind in virtue in spite of its seeming religiosity? In attempt to answer the question, the researcher was forced to agree with Aristotle that, words alone do not spring up virtue in humans. Aristotle believes that virtue does not arise in man by chance but through forced habituation. He believes that humans when left uncontrolled would always tend towards the vicious, because their souls are being led by the passions instead of reason. To allow reason to rule, the passions need to be forced to subject to the ruling of reason. This force is therefore necessary, because the passions cannot be persuaded by mere words to listen to reason – it is only the language of force that could compel the passions to the good.  This paper believes that if force through the law as Aristotle advises is employed in Nigeria, the country would produce virtues. This is necessary, because Nigerians have proven Aristotle right, by showing that words and advice alone do not prop up virtue.

Keywords: Concept, Virtue, Context, Contemporary, Nigeria.

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