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PHIL 215 week 1.docx

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PHIL 215
Brian Orend

C) But What Does it Mean to Behave Ethically? My own strategy is to look up the Top Five Ethical Models and be guided by them: Virtue Ethics – what would a virtuous person do? (oldest, originated in Ancient Greece, prominent religious traditions have a prominent virtue ethics component to them)  Character, not action, focused o From action to character (a person who lies is deemed as a “liar) o Makes stronger and sweeping claims about someone’s character  Development of good character over time o “A virtuous character” over your lifetime  Pursuit of ethical excellence, be the best you can be o Virtue (excellence of character, strength of character) KEY FIGURE: Aristotle – EUDAIMONIA (ethical excellence)  “Happiness/Flourishing Excellence” o Flourishing, “best kind”, of human life has 3 parts: o 1) Pleasure – humans are hard wired for individuals to pursue pleasure  However, we can train ourselves to pursue different kinds of pleasure  What changes, and is plastic, is what gives individuals pleasures  Train yourself to get pleasure out of morally good actions  If you get pleasure out of lying to someone’s face, that is a defective character o Birth – to P/A – “Moral Luck” – out of our control. We don’t choose what society we are born into. Social institutions are there to tell us what is right or wrong, rewarding us for good behaviour. Parents taught us well o After that is “Personal Control”  2) Internal Goods – the virtues o Traits of character o Not natural, development overtime  “Correct natural deficiencies”  he thinks that a lot of people are naturally inclined to be lazy  (being hardworking corrects this natural deficiency)  he thinks that most of us are liars and are naturally disposed to lies (a lot of psychological evidence that most people lie to give them some sort of pleasure under situations)  (being honest corrects this natural deficiency)  he thinks that most people are cowards as well  (courage corrects this natural deficiency) o Require constant practice & exercise  Virutes are like muslces, you have to constantly use them  If you are not using your virtues, you are not a virtuous person o Benefit self & others   3) External Goods o born into a good society o born to good parents o need a certain level of health and wealth  health (if you are extremely sick, you’re going to be collapsed in on yourself and your problems and struggles and you’re going to lack the spirit to be morally involved with other people)  wealth (unless you are somewhat wealthy, you wil not be morally good. If you are so poor and you keep thinking about where your next meal is going to come from, you will lack the experience of being a morally giving person – you need resources)  friends & beauty o ancient greeks had a firm belief that being physically attractive shows a lot of your character (weak point) o having good friends is important to be better people  who you normally are, is how you habitually behave  ex. Anyone can be nice in a situation by holding the door for someone else. Doesn’t work if you do small good deeds  you socially spend more time with your friends, therefore how you treat your friends show how you are morally  if you lie and are manipulative, you are not good  friends offer you continual moral practice  honest, supportive, empathy, love  friends help you move from part b to part a How does Virtue Ethics recommend how to solve moral dilemma?  Aristotle: consult amoral expert and follow their advice o Hat
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