Ethics: Final Exam Study Guide
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His method of philosophizing: observation, like science. In Ethics, he observed people
judging (praising and blaming) one another. He extracts from his observations, clarifies
and shows us what we do, and shows us the “bulls eye”, the target of how to live the
good life. Method: observation.
Ethics in relation to political science: Political science: Polis: citystate: Social Ethics,
What would be a good way for the society to be? Ethics: way for the individual to be.
Political Science: way for the society to be. Make the community happy by producing
happy, fulfilled individuals. What’s good for the individual is good for the society. What’s
good for the society is good for the individual. It’s ethics on a larger scale. The political
science looks at the society and asks, what would a better society look like? Not an exact
science. More like poetry than math.
What is the highest good for humans? Happiness. Every goal is ultimately for one’s
happiness. There is no question why someone would want to be happy.
How is happiness achieved and can we be happy during our lifetime?
How are virtues acquired? Actions are performed over and over, creating habits. Get the
habit of x by doing x. the early years makes all the difference. The moral development of
a child is central to his thinking. Children must learn at a young age to find pain and
pleasure in the appropriate things to acquire virtues. Become x by doing x.
Pleasure & Pain in Relation to Virtues: Proves our character by how we handle it. All
immoral actions are a result of improper uses of these. “They will know by your fruit”.
The mean and the extremes with regard to virtue: The aim of the virtue is to hit the mean.
Voluntary vs. involuntary actions: Involuntary is something we are compelled to do by an
outside source. Voluntary originates from within.
Mixed Actions: Under duress, true character comes out in these situations. Ignorance is
not always excusable. If we do something we don’t know, we cannot be blamed.
Choice, deliberation and wishing as ingredients of voluntary actions:
1) Choice: we choose what we are able to do, and what we can control.
2) Deliberation: how to bring about the goal— ways of action of the decision.
3) Wishing: an act of the imagination. We envision the outcome and have an
emotional connection to it. Emotional desire in acting voluntary, projecting
forward wanting/desiring those outcomes. We are responsible for our wishing, so
we should be wishing certain things. Courage:
1) Context: fear and confidence
2) Virtue, the moderate course of action: courage, the clearest example is to have
courage in the face of death in warfare, serving a noble cause. We need courage to
employ the other virtues. Only when a noble purpose faces fear.
3) Excess: rashness