Ethics- Virtue Ethics

When was Aristotle around? Where was he born?
Born in Stagyrai in 384 BC and died in Chalais 332 BC
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What was his book named?
Nicomachean Ethics
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What age did he enter Plato's academy?
18 years old
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What school did he find?
Lyceum - School of Philosophy
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What does virtue mean?
High moral standards, a quality which is considered morally good or desirable
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What is VE about?
Concerned with the character, the development of a person and how to become better
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What does James F Keenan describe it as in 1995?
'It means having a fundamental set of related virtues that enables a person to live and act morally well'
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What is the superior aim?
Eudamonia is the main goal
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What is the subordinate aim?
Are what we have to achieve first before we achieve the superior aim
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What is 'Eudamonia'?
Is the goal of life that everyone should pursue, and it is pursued for itself not any other reason. It is NOT a means to an end but an end in itself- achieved through virtuous action
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What is 'love' pleasure?
Short term pleasures e.g. food and sex
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What is 'love' honour?
Politically focused
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What is 'love' contemplation?
The ultimate aim is to live for happiness and this comes from Eudamonia
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What are the two parts of the soul?
Rational and irrational
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What is the 'rational' part of the soul?
The intellectual virtues are developed into the rational part of the soul. In the rational part it is divided into two parts- calculative and scientific
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What is the 'irrational' part of the soul?
The moral virtues are developed in the irrational part. Split in two vegetative and desiderative
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What are intellectual virtues?
The intellectual virtues are learned through instruction e.g. being taught
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What are the 9 intellectual virtues?
Sophia, Phronesis, practical skill, common sense, intuition, resourcefulness, understanding, judgement and cleverness
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What are moral virtues?
Developed through habit
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What are the 12 moral virtues?
Courage, temperance, liberality, munificence, high mindfulness, right ambition, good temper, civility, sincerity, witiness, modesty and resentfulness
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What did Aristotle say about the differences between a private non-civic life and a public civic life?
The fulfilling of human potential includes public service and exercising responsibility in public life. Participating in civic life has a way of improving our character
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How did Aristotle believe one could be moral?
Getting into good habits and being around those who are morally right
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Why is friendship so important?
Without friendship, none of the virtues would be of any value
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What is a quote from Aristotle about it?
'Nobody would choose to live without friends, even if they had all the other good things'
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What does friendship come before?
'Law seems to attach more importance to it has to justice; because concord seems to be something like friendship'
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What are the three types of friendship?
Perfect, utility and ******
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What is a 'utility' friendship?
A friendship which is useful to us and convenient for both partners. Most friendships in businesses are 'utility' ones
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What is '******/ pleasurable' friendship?
It is slightly better than utility friendships, but it tends to be based on sexual attraction
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What is the 'perfect' friendship?
The most valuable one as it is based on goodness, friends care more about the other person than about themselves
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Finish the quotation from Aristotle 'You cannot get to know eachother...
until you have eaten the proverbial quantity of salt together'
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What are the four cardinal virtues?
Four virtues which play a pivotal role and all other virtues are grouped around them. They are: prudence, ,justice, temperance and fortitude
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What is the 'doctrine of the mean' (Golden Mean)?
Every virtue of character lies between two correlative vices. It comes between the vice of excess and vice of deficiency
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What is an example of a vice of deficiency, the virtue, and vice of excess?
Cowardice, courage, rashness
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What is another example of a vice of deficiency, the virtue, and vice of excess?
Insensibility, temperance, intemperance
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What did Phillipa Foot say?
Virtues are beneficial and necessary as humans don't get on without them
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In what situations according to Foot is it more demanding to be virtuous?
Moral situations
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According to Foot, what do virtues seem to relate to?
A person's innermost desires, they are about our intentions
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What does Foot believe that philosophers have done?
Neglected the subject of virtues and vices
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What is the name of Phillipa Foot's book?
Virtues and Vices and other essays in Moral Philosophy
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What does Foot liken people to and why?
Planks of wood that are left out to season. Wood naturally warps and changes shape and it needs continuous straightening to make it straight. Virtues do the same for the human character: they continually straighten us out so that eventually we can, t
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What are strengths of Foot's modernised theory?
It is flexible and easily applicable to everyday life, it is adaptable and has an aim and purpose
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What did Elizabeth Anscombe feel?
That any ethical system simply decline in terms of legalistic principle was problematic
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Why was she criticial of modern moral virtues?
She felt that society was dislocated from old traditions
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What did she also think?
That some further development was necessarily in coming to understand what was really meant by virtue
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What other points did Anscombe say?
She also felt that ethics had moved away from a focus on a person’s character and had instead become obsessed with lots of rules and laws. Anscombe argued that it was time for a return of virtue ethics.
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What was her book called?
'Modern Moral Philosophy'
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What are strengths of Anscombe's theory?
Secular views are in line with this theory and not listening to God shows how society is changing
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What was Alasdair McIntyre teach in 'Virtue Ethics'?
Virtues aren't static and unchanging
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What did he highlight?
That virtues have changed from earlier ethical theories and that they have little value as they were time consuming
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Why does he revise Aristotle's theory?
He suggests that the main goal of virtues is to provide humans with a good reason for acting morally
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What are 'external goods'?
Practical matters such as good food, safe home and clothes to wear
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What are 'internal goods'?
Things that can be achieved only through practice
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What are strengths of this theory?
It applies to everyone and more flexible/adaptable
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What are weaknesses of MacIntyre's theory?
There isn't a definition of virtues, and it doesn't listen to other ethical theories as they are complex
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What does Martha Nussbaum say that makes VE a strong theory?
That it takes the whole persons life into account rather than one individual account. As it is agent centred it focuses on character and doesn't judge people on individual actions
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What are other strengths of VE?
It has a holistic view, it takes into account personal and social flourishing
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What are other strengths?
Benjamin Franklin said 'the greater good must be achieved through the exercise of the virtues'
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Why does Robert Louden criticise VE?
It focuses on the individual, doesn't resolve big moral issues. 'Virtue ethics has the problem of application'
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What is Susan Wolf's quotation about VE which makes it a criticism?
'I don't know whether there are moral saints. But if there are, I am glad that neither I nor those I care about are among them'
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What did Vardy call Aristotle?
a 'racist, sexist, ageist and specialist'
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What are some religious beliefs that support VE?
Christian church accepts the 4 cardinal virtues, VE has been influenced by theologians like Stanley Havervuas, MacIntyre was a 'Roman Catholic Philosopher'
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What are religious beliefs that oppose VE?
Many will believe in determinism rather than freewill, many Christians support an absolutist approach to ethics
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What did Richard Taylor say in 'Virtue Ethics'?
Argued that a system of morality which is based on divine control/ Christians put too much emphasis on individuality
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What is a 'teleological' ethical theory?
A teleological theory is one which is based on the consequence. The end result is what an ethicist will focus on and decide whether people are good or bad
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What is an example of a teleological theory?
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What is a denotological ethical theory?
Theory is an action based one, where the action is considered to be moral or immoral
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What is an example?
Kantian ethics
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How is VE similar to teleological theory?
Encourages thinking and development, focuses on the 'telos' and can be applied to Christianity with SE
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How is VE similar to deontological theory?
VE has close links to the deontological natural laws, both present in your life
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What are the four types of people?
Virtuous, continent, incontinent, and vicious
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What are virtuous people?
People who follow the virtues so enjoy doing good
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What are continent people?
people who follow the virtues most of the time but face moral dilemmas
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What are incontinent people?
People who face conflict because they follow vices
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What are vicious people?
People who don't attempt to be virtuous
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What is the 'Sala dei Nove'?
A picture by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, it is a secular piece of architecture. There is a good and bad government
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How is VE different to teleological theory?
Character based, and not based on absolute rules. Develops the person and cannot be applied to moral dilemmas
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How is a deontological theory different to VE?
Action based/ not flexible, less emphasis on developing yourself and not biased as it is factual
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Finish the quotation from Aristotle 'Nobody would choose to live without friends...
even if he had all the other good things'
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What did Alasdair MacIntrye say?
'The whole of human life reaches its highest point in the activity of a specialised philosopher with a reasonable income'
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Finish the quotation from MacIntyre, 'practices are found in all human societies an dare ways of acting...
through internal goods which leads to a standard of excellence'
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What does Luke 6:27 say?
'love your enemies, do good to those who hate you'
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Who said 'these three remain: faith, love and hope. But the greatest of these is love'
1 Corinthians 13:13
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What does John 15:12?
'My command; love eachother as I have loved you. greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends'
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What did Elizabeth Anscombe say?
'We should ask whether, e.g. it was unjust; and the answer would sometimes be clear at once'
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Who said 'nobody could get on will if he lacks courage, and doesn't have some measures of temperance and wisdom'
Philippa Foot
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What are the 7 deadly sins?
Pride, envy, guttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


What was his book named?


Nicomachean Ethics

Card 3


What age did he enter Plato's academy?


Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4


What school did he find?


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What does virtue mean?


Preview of the front of card 5
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