The ancient conception of virtue is quite far removed from our own. Nowadays, we tend to think of virtue as a kind of moral righteousness, as opposed to sin. The Greeks, however, had a very different idea about virtue, or arete, as they called it. For Aristotle, virtue was a unique form of excellence, something that each person or animal or thing could aspire to. On this episode of “What Is X?” Justin E.H. Smith invites on philosophy professor Jennifer Frey to try to recover this idea of virtue and to ask whether Aristotle's definition can still work for us today. Along the way, they revisit the works of Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Anscombe and Alasdair MacIntyre, and talk about everything from Madame Bovary to sea cucumbers. They ask: Does virtue ethics fit into the purview of moral philosophy, or should it stand alone? Is living a good life a matter of luck or effort? Is there one particular path to human flourishing? How should philosophy orient itself toward literature? And what is the best Coen Brothers movie?