Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics
- Virtue Ethics:
o Emphasis placed on character – the person one should be.
“What kind of person should I be?” replaces the normative ‘what should I
o Teleological view – aim at a particular goal, aiming at good life for human beings, as
promoted by moral life.
o Relatively fixed trait of character
o Disposition to think, feel, and act in certain ways in certain circumstances
Intellectual component – the correct belief motivating actions
Affective component – the appropriate feeling connected to an action
Motivational-behavioural component –
o Primary basis for moral judgement
- Happiness as the Highest Good
o Human activities aim at some good or end
o Highest good is:
Desirable for itself
Not desirable for sake of some other good
All other good desirable for its sake
Wealth is not desirable for itself, it is desirable for the good for human beings,
which is happiness
Happiness is not a transient state, it is enjoyed over a lifetime
o Moral life aims at good for human beings (eudaemonia, happiness, flourishing)
- What does a happy human life consist in?
o Ask: what is the essential nature of human beings?
Rationality distinguishes us: we have a capacity to guide ourselves with
o Good of a thing is performing its function well
Doing anything well requires excellence or virtue – the role of virtue in
living a happy life:
o Happiness is a life of rational activity of the soul in accordance with virtue (if we
reason well, we live well, an