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Character - Aristotle And Virtue Ethics, Kantian Ethics, Utilitarianism, Challenges, Bibliography

person earliest english actions

The word character, when applied to persons, has two sources, distinguished lexically in ancient Greek by the terms êthos and charaktêr. Êthos, originally referring to a disposition or custom, from Aristotle on refers to the stable dispositions that guide a person's actions and that are suitable objects of moral praise and blame. The earliest uses of charactêr in Greek, like the earliest uses of character in English, refer to an impression such as would be carved or stamped onto a coin or tablet; metaphorically, "characters" are signs (actions, facial features, social positions) that reveal something about a person's soul. During the seventeenth century, the sense of "character" in English came to include a person's psychological traits themselves.

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