PHIL 237 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Philosophy & Public Affairs, Eudemian Ethics, Nicomachean Ethics

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16 Aug 2016
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PHIL 237
Lecture 4
Virtue Ethics
Aristotelian (virtue) Ethics — Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Eudemian Ethics
Question: What is the ultimate good?
-Happiness or more precisely human flourishing (eidaimonia). As human beings, our function
is to achieve eudaemonia, which is a virtuous activity.
Aristotle questioned what was something that every human being wants
-Believed that happiness (human flourishing) is the ultimate want of every human being
Rosalind Hurthouse (1991): “Virtue Theory and Abortion”
-New Zealander philosopher — educated at Oxford
-Work on virtue ethics: “Virtue Theory and Abortion” and Philosophy & Public Affairs 20
1. Comparison of the three approaches
2. Application of virtue ethics to the case of abortion
Structure of virtue ethics
1. An action is right if it is what a virtuous agent would do in the circumstances
2. A virtuouos agent is one who acts virtuously (has and practices virtues)
3. A virtue is a character trait a human being needs to flourish and/ or live well
Mean (Virtue)
Deficiency (Vice)
Excess (Vice)
Courage
Cowardice
Rashness
Temperace
Insensibility
Intemperance
Liberality
Illiberality
Prodigality
Munificence
Pettiness
Vulgarity
Humble-mindedness
High-mindedness
Vaingloriness
Want of ambition
Right ambition
Over-ambition
Spiritlessness
Good temper
Irascibility
Surliness
Friendly civility
Obsequiousness
Ironical depreciation
Sincerity
Boastfulness
Boorishness
Wittiness
Buffoonery
Shamelessness
Modesty
Bashfulness
Callousness
Just resentment
Spitefulness
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