Virtue Ethics

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  • Virtue Ethics
    • Asks the question of how can you be a better person?
      • Focuses on defining good people and their  characteristic
    • Purpose of life
      • Life directed through some kind of aim. There is a purpose and we aim for some good.
        • Superior aims and Subordinate - eg. writing an essay is the subordiante aim for getting a final a level. We always do one thing for another more important thing
      • Supreme good - happiness or eudaimonia 'human flourishing'
      • Problem: people differ from eachother
        • 3 types of people: those of love pleasures, love hounor and those who love contemplation (philosopher)
      • Faculty of reason - happiness must use reason in order to work out what a good life is
      • Do what you do for the community
    • Soul
      • The soul is most important - two major parts rational and irrational
        • Rational: split into calculative and scientific. Calculative is the weighing up and the Scientific is the facts
        • Irrational: split into vegetative and Desiderative. Vegetative is nutrition and growth and Desiderative is the wants and luxuries
        • Fruit Cake: the Vegetative part of us makes us need nutrition, the desiderative part desires cake not fruit. Scientific part knows that fruit is better so finally the calculative part weighs up what is better
    • Virtues
      • Virtues are at the heart of his theory
        • Moral Virtues - qualities of character - desires and come through habit. Courage, liberty etc
          • 12 moral virtues that fall under 2 vices - excess and deficiency. the moral virtue of courage would fall between excess - rashness and deficiency - cowardice.
        • Intellectual Virtues - qualities of mind. rational part of the soul - cultivated though instruction. understanding and wisdom
          • 9 intellectual virtues. 5 main and 4 secondary
            • Primary - 1. Art/technical skill -knowing how to bring something into existence. Doing the job. 2.Episteme - facts of universe.      3. Prudence - do things not just for you but for others too.                 4. Intelligence -basic virtue  5. Wisdom - finsihed virtue that you get at the end and have experience
            • Secondary - 1. Good Deliberation - practical wisdom.            2. Understanding - this goes beyond the ability to know external facts 3.Judgement - right for everyone concerned and community.  4. Cleverness
    • Doctrine of the mean
      • We all have the potential to develop these virtues but no every one will be able to cultivate the potential virtues into actual virtues
        • Acorn example - it has the potential of become an oak tree but not all of them will
      • Doctrine of the mean is vital. We must regulate our emotions and responses to people and situations so that we are eventually able to conduct ourselves with dignity
      • Veer away from both excess and deficiency so that we hit the golden mean
        • You may be angry at your computer because its broken but it is your attitude what is important. the right thing to do is control yourself
          • Our feelings should not get in the way of how we react to things
      • Aristotle says that we learn out virtues through habit and experience
      • Friendship
        • Most important - without friendship none other virtues would mean any value. friendship is essential
          • "nobody would choose to live without friend even if he had all the other good things"
          • "Friendship also seems to be the bond that holds communities together"
          • Friendship comes before justice itself. without friendship there would be no sense of justice
        • 3 types of friendship
          • Utility Friendship - simply useful to us. We work with them, business and commerce
          • Pleasurable or Erotic friendships - Attractions feelings or emotions. Often based on sexual attractions
          • Perfect Friendship - based on goodness and most valuable.  Love
    • Critisism
      • Laws do not talk about courage or patience when thinking if something is right or wrong.
      • Motives: The person is what matter but Utilitarianism would say that the consequences are what is important
      • Subjective: No specific guidance about how we act
        • It does not tell us how to act
      • Lack of moral rules
      • Virtue ethics rejects moral absolutes such as 'do not lie' but then values honesty
    • Strenghts
      • Optimistic and realistic - highest expectations but also understands that you may need more chances to get things right
      • Brings happiness
      • It is  not too cerebral like Kant or too base like Utilitarianism - it gives harmony bewteern our interllect and our desire
      • Holistic - covers all aspects of persionality


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