Virtue Ethics - Modern Ethicists

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  • Created by: Hannah
  • Created on: 30-09-13 19:34
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  • Modern Day Ethicists
    • Richard Taylor
      • Humans should flourish and achieve their eudaimonia
      • 'Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth'  -  does not encourage moral excellence
        • If the meek inherit the earth then it is suggesting that all you have to do is wait for the inheritance
          • No encouragement to 'do good' or be a good person
      • Christianity emphasises equality and what he calls 'self-negating' equality
        • Self Negating Equality - ineffective equality, rather than encouraging people to strive and become better people
    • Rosalind Hursthouse
      • Virtues are what they are because they encourage people to become the best they can and reach eudaimonia
        • If virtue ethics is criticised for not offering guidance in moral dilemmas she would argue that it may not explain how we should act but how we would think about acts
      • Untitled
      • Virtues help practical reasoning, allowing us to become better people, being able to respond to moral issues in a virtuous way
        • If we use our virtues, our reasoning helps us to become virtuous people
    • Michael Slote
      • Words such as 'good' and 'bad' will always need clarification so he uses the words 'admirable and deplorable' instead
      • If something is 'admirable' or 'deplorable' then we know by definition that we are either doing the right thing or not because we are either being admirable or deplorable
    • Alasdair MacIntyre
      • Words like 'good, right + wrong' are subjective and do not mean anything
      • People disagree on whether morality should be deontological or teleological
      • Morality should focus on Aristotle's ideas of following our own 'telos', otherwise we may loose our 'moral wisdom'
        • Our purpose is what we do and MacIntyre sees virtues as something judged in society by others - behaviour and actions are judged to decide whether it is a  morally virtuous act of an example of human excellence.
          • Same views as Aristotle
      • Encourages society to help in developing virtues, emphasises that the virtues that are developed must be relevant to a recent time.
        • Just Like Aristotle
      • Virtues clarified by Aristotle or Jesus are not necessarily those that will help people in modern times flourish
    • Philippa Foot
      • Virtues allow people to flourish - by correcting our natural tendencies towards vices.
        • Human inclinations towards self-interest which ought to be corrected through benevolence and compassion
      • Virtues do not guarantee happiness but they help move towards it and can be considered virtuous if they are used to bring about a good outcome.
        • Using courage to rob a bank is not a virtuous act
    • Elizabeth Anscombe
      • Believed many theories, regardless of whether they were act or consequence based, did not provide moral guidelines because they relied on the concepts of punishment from a divine law giver or by their consequences.
      • Concept of eudaimonia and agent centered morality was what Anscombe focussed on.
        • This ideals also meant that the social aspects of morality that unites a community were more important that autonomous actions that are the core of other theories.


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