Virtue Ethics- Alasdair MacIntyre

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  • Created by: eshort1
  • Created on: 27-02-16 13:45
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  • ALASDAIR MACINTYRE
    • CONTEXT
      • We ought to see ethics as a developing story. Therefore we must know the context of theories.
        • For this reason, he rejects QUANDRY ethics, where theories are judged by looking at unrealistic dilemmas. (Atomic bomb application etc).
          • These applications force us to choose between absolute rules, or the relativising which could end up saving peoples lives.
            • Ethics has become a 'lose/lose' game, because we are left so confused between abandoning our principles or letting others be harmed. People don't know what to do, so they just give up.
        • Gathering information about situations through context can be said to resemble resourcefulness secondary virtue and understanding.
      • If ethics is going to tell us how to live our lives, we must look into our own contexts to see what type of person we should be.
        • If we know what makes a good person, we should be able to reason what actions support/don't support it.
    • Relative Values
      • Different societies have different values. Virtues change over time.
        • Application= Homeric virtues praised cunning, physical strength, courage, and friendship. As did small tribes as they were seen as protection.
          • However, referring back to context- these virtues change over time as cities develop. Athenian virtues valued justice and temperance.
            • Today's society values wisdom as it is needed to ensure justice for so many people living in a society etc.
    • Internal and External Goods
      • Practices are what we do with other people in order to achieve virtues.
      • Internal goods can only be achieved through participation and are intrinsically good. They have known standards of excellence.
        • E.g- Chess playing is achieved through 2 players (participation) and develops qualities of diligence, hard work, and concentration.
        • Carrying out these practices on a regular basis helps people fulfill their telos (purpose). It gives people a reason for rationally acting ethically.
      • Internal Goods help us act ethically every day and exercise the virtues. External goods like good food, shelter, etc give us the foundations for happiness.
    • EVALUATIVE= It's reasonable to put situations into context because it helps us understand the decisions people make. However, in the eyes of the law some things are always wrong.
    • Criticisms of deontology/utilitarianism- cold logic is applied without compassion. The love of God and humans doesn't count here. In utilitarianism morality is reduced to a mathematical equation.
    • ''Morally bankrupt society''= Just as a person has no money left, we have no morals left as it has been replaced by materialism and hedonism as opposed to noble virtue.
      • ''Moral Vacuum''= We have been reduced to a society with no morals, just as a vacuum has no air in it, our society has no morals.

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