Virtue Ethics - Aristotle

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  • Created by: Bridie
  • Created on: 24-04-11 16:57

Eudaimonia...

  • ... or "happiness", is the supreme goal of human life. Aristotle believed that everything has a purpose - the good for a knife is to cut, and a good knife is one that cuts well. In the same way, Eudaimonia is the "good" for a person.
  • Aristotle draws a distinction between superior and subordinate aims.......... Why do i study ethics? maybe to get a qualification. I get the qualification to get a good job, and i want to get a good job because... these are subordinate aims. At some point you stop and say "because that would make me happy" - and this becomes the superior aim.
  • "Eudaimonia" is the end goal or purpose behind everything we do as people, and is desired for it's own sake

Moral Virtues...

The good life involves developing a good character... Moral virtues are cultivated by habit! To become a generous person, i must get into the habit of being generous. Put another way, it is not enough to be told that i should be patient. To become patient, i need to practice patience.

  • It is very difficult to translate some of Aristotle's moral virtues. "Liberality" and "Magnificence" (popular in many translations" both seem to mean generosity... the following list is an attempted translation...
  • Courage, temperance, big-heartedness, generosity, high mindedness, right ambition, patience, truthfulness, wittiness, friendliness, modesty, righteous indignation

Intellectual Virtues...

Intellectual virtues are qualities of mind developed through instruction! They are:

  • Practical skill, knowledge, common sense, intuition, wisdom, resourcefulness, understanding, judgement, cleverness...

Cardinal Virtues...

The cardinal virtues are temperance, courage, wisdom and justice...

  • These virtues work together, and it would not be enough to have one of these alone
  • Temperance and courage are moral

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