Virtue Ethics

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  • Moral Natural Law
    • Intro
      • By studying our nature and purpose, using reason, we can work out the right way to live.
      • It is a deductive theory. It is Deontological, looking at the intent behind an action and the nature of the act itself, not its outcomes.
    • Reason and Human Purpose
      • Natural Law works on the assumption that we have, within our own nature, a guide to what is good for us.
        • If we follow this we flourish
      • A moral life is a life lived according to and in accordance with reason and an immoral life is a life at odds with reason
        • Aquinas deduced that, fundamentally, humans should go to avoid evil.
    • Real and apparent goods
      • Human actions that are not in the pursuit of perfection can be explained as the pursuit of apparent good.
        • something that doesn't fit in the perfect human ideal.
      • To choose an apparent good is an error, because it isn't really good for us. The adulterer or adulteress commits adultery because he or she believes that it is good.
        • This is an error of reason, because adultery prevents humans from drawing close to what God intended.
    • Virtues
      • Cardinal Virtues
        • Acquired through reason applied to nature; they are
          • Prudence: wise in handling practical matters; excising judgement or common sense
          • Justice: the upholding of what is just, especially fair treatment
          • Temperance: moderation or abstinence
          • Fortitude: firm courage; strength; bravery
        • Primary Precepts
          • Absolute and Unchanging
          • Worship God
          • Ordered society
          • Reproduction
            • Learning
              • Defend the innocent
          • These are absolute deontological principles that are derived from the Primary precepts
            • This nature is common to us all must lie in accordance with it.
              • Perusing natural laws develops virtues.
      • Theological Virtues
        • Faith      Hope   Charity
      • According to Aquinas, to lack any of these virtues is to lack the ability to make a moral choice.
        • For example, consider a man who possesses the virtues of justice, prudence and fortitude yet lacks temperance. Due to his lack of self-control and desire for pleasure, despite his good intentions, he will find himself swaying from the moral path
        • To adhere to natural law, an individual should seek to develop both cardinal and theological virtues- this development takes practice. These virtues must become habitual.
    • Secondary Precepts
      • These are the rules- absolute deontological principles
        • Deried from the orimary precepts
      • For example, the teleological principle " protect and preserve the innocent" leads to rules such as "do not abort"
        • These rules cannot be broken, regardless of the consequences. They are absolute laws.
      • Suicie is wrong because humans have the natural inclination to preserve life.


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