Virtue Ethics - A2 Edexcel Textbook

Virtue Ethics for Edexcel A2 exam

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- All things and human beings have a purpose/function - a telos

- It's final cause is to fulfill its goal

- Human = flourishing and developing virtuous characteristics

- What kind of person people ARE not what they DO - but PRACTICE kindness and it will become a HABIT so you will become kind

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Nature of Humanity

- Human's are like animals = need food and air - but have RATIONAL THOUGHT

- Purpose of man - rational thought and to find INTELLECTUAL VIRTUE

- Also has to be PRACTICAL and fulfill MORAL VIRTUES


- These lead to GOOD LIFE - live by these - closer to EUDAIMONIA

- Act in the right way because identified as right way not just because you WANT to or OUGHT to

- Right way = GOLDEN MEAN (Aristotle) - cowardice/foolhardiness = courage

- CULTIVATE the Golden Mean, not BORN with it

- Good person learns from ROLE MODEL - practice until becomes HABIT

- When reached - always virtuous - even in sleep - links with understanding of truly good person

- 'Prudence' - not just desire to do good but know when and how to 


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20th Century Revival

- ANSCOMBE - shoudl abandon ethical codes relying on MORAL ABSOLUTES - go back to HUMAN FLOURISHING

- TAYLOR - rejects ethics based on DIVINE COMMANDS - Christianity teachings on EQUALITY - does not encourage people to strive to BETTER THEMSELVES


- MACINTYRE - MORAL DILEMMAS confused by NATURALISTICS THEORIES time consuming - virtue ethics is EASIER and more applicable to HUMAN SITUATIONS

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- Both RELIGOUS and SECULAR can live by it

- Despite Taylor - JESUS can be seen as a virtuous ROLE MODEL

- SIMPLE SYSTEM - universal well being

- Role model means not an UNREALISTIC GOAL

- Attempts to link THEORETICAL and PRACTICAL approaches to ethics

- Moral behaviour PRACTICES helps MAINTAIN and good life

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- Virtues have DIFFERENT VALUES in DIFFERENT CULTURES - physical courage vs. intellect in some - even role models differ in value

- WOLF - not everyone wanst to CULTIVATE the virtues or maintains they are INTRINSICALLY GOOD

- Aristotle's GOLDEN MEAN - not easy to apply to ALL VIRTUES - compassion, loyalty - vices?

- No guidance when virtues CONFLICT

- SELFISH - focus on SELF IMPROVEMENT rather than IMPACT of actions on OTHERS

- MASCULINE - courage/honour - what about FEMININE? - empathy - but Aristotle's society did view it that way

- Only attractive to those who have the TIME to conciously PRACTICE and DISCOVER the theories behind virtues ethics

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