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VIRTUE ETHICS .docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Winter

Description
 VIRTUE ETHICS – January 28      20 4 Three different views:  1) Virtue ethics 2) Deontology 3) Consequentialism  Character  ▯Act  ▯Consequences  Virtue ethics  ▯Deontology  ▯Consequentialism  Consequentialism  - The moral worth of an act is determined by its consequences - The main theory is ‘utilitarianism’ – the idea that goodness consists in  contribution to human happiness - Happiness is a trouble of course: • Pleasure • Human or all sentient creatures • Flourishing Deontology  - The idea that an act possesses its moral worth, without regard to its  consequences or its motives  Virtue Ethics  - The idea that the moral worth of an act resides in the moral worth of  the person performing it - The object of moral education is to form good people, people of good  character or ‘virtue’  - The bearer of moral worth is the source of he action, the character of  the person who is performing the action (Aristotle) Virtue Ethics – Aristotle  Part One: Why be Ethical? Aristotle’s answer: Happiness  a) Eudaimonia The Greek word translated here as happiness… and the translation isn’t perfect.  Happiness, for us, is generally regarded as an occurrent subjective state; it was  understand as an objective state.  Loosely and roughly: You can’t be happy without knowing that you’re happy. But you can be eudaimon  without knowing that you are.  A better translation for eudaimonia might be ‘blessedness’ – but without the religious  connotations that that word has for us.  A person who is eudaimon will be admired and praised by others.  That person who is universally admired, will be entitled to a great deal of self­ satisfaction. And so, in a way, ethics becomes an empirical enquiry: • What sorts of people do we generally admire? (Note: We is we well­born citizens, we nobility, we elite) • What are the virtues that we admire in people? • Is there a general definition of virtue?  b) Areté – Virtue  Part Two: The Mean • Aristotle thinks about the virtues we admire, and he notices that, they represent a  form of behaviour that is in the middle of two extremes, which are vices – behaviour  that is not admired. For every vice, there are 2 virtues. *  Virtue for Aristotle, is a mean. Deficiency/Vice Mean/Virtue Excess/Vice cowardice courage foolhardiness anorexia moderation gluttony (Eating and Drinking) stinginess generosity profligacy standoffishness friendliness obsequiousness shyness pride vanity pessimism realism optimism celibacy monogamy promiscuity
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