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By Kayleigh Cutts
& Virtue Ethics…read more

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Born 384 B.C. in north-eastern
Who was Aristotle?
Greece Herpyllis: Some
people suggest that
she was just his slave
however his will
suggests that by the
time he died it is
likely she was a freed
women and his wife.
Plato's Academy in Athens
from the age of 17 and Nicomachus:
remained associated with it
until Plato's death in 347 B.C.
Studied Named after his
father and whom it is
Nicomachean Ethics
is named after.
Married Pythias whilst in Who went on to
Marital Lesbos. After her death it is
thought he remarried to
become Alexander
the Great
Status Herpyllis
The Lyceum:
Members of his
school researched
many different
With Pythias he had a subjects; all interests
daughter whom was also of Aristotle botany.
The subjects were
named Pythias. He also had
biology, logic, music,
children with Herpyllis, mathematics,
including a son named astronomy, medicine,
cosmology, physics,
Nicomachus the history of
psychology, ethics,
theology, rhetoric,
political history,
Die 322 B.C. in Chalcis of natural
government and
political theory,
rhetoric, and the arts.
d The manuscr
· In 343 B.C. he was appointed as
the tutor for the kings 13 year-
old son Alexander.
He returned to Athens in 335
B.C. and set up a school, the
Lyceum. He remained in Athens
for 13 years moving Chalcis in
322 B.C.…read more

Slide 3

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Aristotle is
Philosophy & Ideas about Virtue Ethics
·He believes that eudaimonia is the supreme goal of human
life. considered
·He also believed that everything has a purpose. The purpose
one of the
of human beings is to reach eudaimonia. founders of
·He says that there is a distinction between two different aims; modern
superior and subordinate. Subordinate aims are what we have western
to achieve first in order to achieve superior aims.
·Eudaimonia is a superior aim and everything we do in life is a
subordinate aim; our pursuit of happiness should govern our along with
lives. his teacher
·By practicing the virtues you grow towards becoming virtues Plato and
and ultimately achieve eudaimonia.
made a distinction between three types of teacher
Pleasure seekers are people driven by their basic desires,
living from one pleasurable experience to the next. He believed
Honour seekers, like politicians try to find solutions to we shouldn't
important problems and receive a sense of honour from
doing this. be virtuous
Contemplation seekers, these are thinkers and philosophers in order to
·He believed there were two types of virtue get closer to
Intellectualvirtues are learned through instruction (taught) God or to get
and they are developed in the rational part of the soul
· There are five primary intellectual virtues :
into heaven
· Art or technical skill (techne) but because
Scientific knowledge (episteme)
· Prudence or practical wisdom (phronesis)
it is simply
· Intelligence or intuition (nous) the right way
Wisdom (sophia)
to live.
· There are four secondary intellectual virtues:
· Resourcefulness or good deliberation (eubolia)
Vice of deficiency· Understanding
Virtue (sunesis)
Vice of excess
Insensibility ·
Judgement (gnome)
"We are
· Cleverness
Moral Virtues
Liberality Prodigality
are developed through
Munificence habit
what we
Want of ambition
There are 12 moral virtues
Right ambition
Over-ambition repeatedly
Good temper
Obsequiousness do.
Buffoonery Excellence,
Shamelessness Modesty Bashfulness
Callousness Just resentment Spitefulness then, is not
an act, but a
· Aristotle realised that not everyone would achieve the…read more

Slide 4

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· Virtue ethics is an ethical theory which concentrates on the idea of the human
character, asking how you can become a better person. Unlike other ethical theories
such as situation ethics and utilitarianism it is not teleological, furthermore it isn't a
deontological theory like Kant and natural law. The personality of the person, or their
moral character, is the focus rather than the actions or some rules. A good moral
character is a virtues person. A virtue is a personal quality that is good and helps us
flourish, and fulfil our final purpose. This theory states the final purpose of a human is
to reach eudaimonia, which is the greatest good for a person.
· The purpose of something is decided through a principle known as the four causes, this
is the same principle used in natural law. The first cause is the material cause ­ what is
the raw material that the thing is made out of, or what it consists of; for a cake this
would be the ingredients. The second cause is the formal cause ­ what is this thing
intended to do, what are the plans for it; for a cake this would be the recipe. The third
cause is the efficient cause ­ for a cake this would be the baking. The forth cause is
known as the final cause ­ this is the purpose, aim or goal of the thing; for a cake this is
to be eaten, for a human this eudemonia.
· Aristotle says that a life aiming to achieve the eudaimonia is a good life. Eudamonia is a
state in which a person is content as they not only act morally they want to act morally.
This contrasts with Kant's idea that humans should aim for Summon Bonnum, which
also means the ultimate happiness but he says we can't reach it in our lifetime and in
order to reach it we must carry out our duty. Our duty is that if we can do something it
implies we ought to do it. It is our duty to act morally.
· According to Aristotle the founder of Virtue ethics you do not achieve good acts
through the virtues and excellence; you achieve your virtues and excellence by doing
good acts- and practicing these acts. These virtues are found in-between a vice of
deficiency and a vice of excess. For example the Virtue is Courage, then the vice of
deficiency would be cowardice and the vice of excess would be foolhardy. If you were a
solider on the frontline and you saw one of your men injured, the cowardly thing would
be to run away leaving him to surely die, if you ran in to rescue him with no real plan or
regards for your own safety then you are being foolhardy. Finding the middle point
between the two vices is known as the doctrine of the mean. The courageous thing to do
would be to devise a plan with the rest of your squad to safely as possible rescue the
injured solider.
· There are four groups of people according to this ethical theory. A virtuous person is
one who actually enjoy doing good therefore face no moral dilemmas. A continent
person do the virtuous thing most of the time but still have to overcome moral
dilemmas. A incontinent person usually chooses the vice when faced with moral
conflict. The final group is the vicious people, they do not attempt to be virtuous.
Aristotle claims that if everyone is given the right education and puts in the right
amount of effort, such as practising the virtues, they can achieve goodness. Ideas such as
this one are what bring critics to label the theory elitist because not everyone is able to
receive a good education.
· We all aim for something with our actions. Aristotle says there are two types of aims,
the first being subordinate, this if what we have to achieve before we can achieve
superior aims. For example if you want an A in your exam this is the superior aim and
all the studying you do if subordinate. Ultimately everything is subordinate to the
supreme good eudamona.
· This theory brings problems relating to culture and geographical location because there
is variation between the values and beliefs therefore what act they consider to be
virtuous will also vary.…read more

Slide 5

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It could be seen as more
moral to choose to do
the right thing
Once the virtues are
`Training' your practiced they If we get it wrong it
reaction to become a habit allows for us to try
always be virtues again - practice
Not based
on rules
This could be considered better than Kant's Realistic which
theory which provides little motivation for
Reliable cannot be
doing the right thing or utilitarianism
where a person can easily act selfishly
whilst still following the theory instead of
thinking about the greater good
Flexible Recognises
that every
situation is
Holistic different
It considers Unlike
the whole
person ­ all
Strengths Utilitarianism -
Hedonic calculus
aspects of
Unlike Kant -
Such as their intelligence,
practical skills and qualities of
There isn't
just a
It stresses the single
importance of criteria for
education goodness
Compatible with religion
Good can be
Puts the well being of
society first
Brings a sense
of community…read more

Slide 6

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Generosity is a Could be
It does not give a virtue is described
Whereas the hedonic
concrete answer to basically saying as another
calculus gives a
ethical dilemmas be generous set of rules
like Kantian
calculation (utilitarian)
ethics and
Robert Louden says that `deontology in Natural law
because of this does not help disguise'
people who are facing a crisis Like Natural law
Doesn't give clear
rule about how to
Natural law and act in a particular
Kantian ethics situation Animal rights
both give rules; activists will
making them Humans are the most disagree
easier to follow Vague important part of this theory
Animals only have
Virtues Conflict instrumental value
Sometimes the virtues Weaknesses
can come into conflict
with one another ­
occasionally we have to
There is no specific
choose between being
guidelines that we
kind and being honest
Not everyone have to follow
can receive a Religious issues
We are not told good education
how to choose We have to decide
which virtue to ourselves whether to go
follow Elitist to war , for example.
It is said to
ignore the
authority of
church This means
Could make it difficult to Based on
teachings and ethics loses it
apply in today's society ancient
biblical rules objectivity
and becomes
Natural Law says Outdated Values vary
certain actions are between
wrong regardless Relative
of the motive
It is the person that When two belief systems
For utilitarian's its matters in Virtue ethics. clash there is no way to
the consequences Their motives have to be
Motives determine who's set of
that matter right virtues are correct…read more

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