Modern Virtue Ethics

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What is the name of Elizabeth Anscombe's virtue ethics theory?
Motive (or Warm) Virtue Ethics
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What did she begin by arguing?
Many no longer believe in God; important to find ethical theory that focuses on idea of human flourishing or eudaimonia (not external law giver)
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Why did she dispute traditional theories, such as Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism?
Claimed that despite not being specifically religious, they do depend on existence of divine law-giver
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What does Aristotle living in a pre-Christian era mean in terms of what "ought" implies
He used "ought" to suggest that you "ought" to do something in order for it to work properly, rather than because of a law given by an external law-giver
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Describe Anscombe's analogy of the supermarket
Man goes into supermarket with list of ingredients. He ignores list, acts impulsively, and buys random foods. He would not have right foods for recipe. It was the man's fault, and he cannot blame the list which he chose to ignore.
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In her analogy, what does the shopping list represent, and why is it important?
Represents list of moral virtues. It is irrelevant who created list. Important thing is that we follow it
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What does this mean the man knows?
He knows the virtues needed for an ethical life, and can now choose whether or not to follow them
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What is Anscombe's theory primarily about?
It is concerned with our intentions, and making the right moral decision
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What law does this mean she is concerned with?
The law of double effect - she is concerned with intention
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What should we use to ensure we make right decisions and avoid being impulsive?
Phronesis - practical wisdom
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Name a female philosopher who largely agreed with Anscombe
Phillipa Foot
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What did Foot add to Anscombe's ideas?
Virtues cannot guarantee happiness, but they go some way to achieving it. Virtues correct existing human tendencies, e.g. to be selfish
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What two types of virtuous people did Anscombe name?
The moral hero who has to struggle to do what is right - they have greater will power. The moral saint who naturally does what is right - they are morally superior
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Who fundamentally disagreed with the theories of Kant and utilitarians and why?
Michael Slote - we cannot merely dictate an ethical code
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How did Slote think we could develop virtues?
Using our intuition, our experience of love with family and friends, and consideration of people's actions whom we think of as virtuous
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What did he think we should focus on?
Motivation for an action, and the care + concern we have for others
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What did Slote define a virtue as?
"An inner trait or disposition of the individual"
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What criticism did Robert Loudon propose in response to Slote saying we should consider virtuous people?
Difficult to determine who they are, particularly if we do not know what the virtues are. No one of knowing a person's motivation
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How did Slote and Aristotle differ?
Slote: "agent-based" meaning we must have virtuous intentions to do a virtuous act. Aristotle: "agent-focused", meaning virtues are inner dispositions, and more concerned with action we took as result of these inner dispositions
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Who criticised Motive Virtue Ethics?
Alasdair MacIntyre
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What assumption did he disagree with?
The assumption that all humans want to live a moral life, and use their practical wisdom or phronesis to try and achieve this
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What ethical approach does he think modern people have adopted, and what does this mean?
An emotivist approach - there are no objective moral truths, and ethical statements are result of people's feelings/emotions
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What does MacIntyre think we have lost?
Our true "telos" (purpose) in life - morality
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If people are no longer viewing morality as their ultimate purpose, what does this mean?
Not everyone wants to live a moral life
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What does moral subjectivity mean in regards to virtue ethics?
People's idea of virtues may differ
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How does MacIntyre define a virtue?
As "an acquired human quality"
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What is important about use of word "acquired"?
Not a matter of being born with a quality, but rather working to develop and exercise it. Based on developing virtues
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How flexible was MacIntyre in regards to virtues?
Allowed for some relativity - recognised virtues could differ within cultures
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What does Rosalind Hursthouse believe about being virtuous?
Does not simply develop our attitudes or actions, but rather shapes our practical reasoning in characteristic ways, thus allowing us to become more virtuous people
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How do we achieve this?
By practising being virtuous - this is the most reliable way
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What are virtues, according to Hursthouse?
Qualities which help humans achieve eudaimonia
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How does she respond to problem that Virtue ethics does not always give a clear guideline of behaviour?
Developed Aristotle's ideas - stated that it encourages us to develop virtuous qualities, thus allowing us to begin to understand the way a virtuous person may regard a moral dilemma
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How does she respond to idea that Virtue Ethics is too vague?
Says intent of virtue ethics is to develop us into virtuous people, who can regard moral dilemmas and know what to do as a result of being virtuous, rather than following a code of conduct
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What did she think about intention?
Seemingly virtuous actions must have virtuous intentions
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Who proposed feministic virtue ethics?
Annette Baier
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What did she claim?
Men and women are natural inclined towards different virtues
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Name a "masculine" trait
Justice and autonomy
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Name a "feminine" trait
Could reflect a mother's natural love, so perhaps caring + nurturing
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What did Baier argue?
We ought to consider these natural biases, and account for them when deciding which virtues we ought to follow
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Card 2

Front

What did she begin by arguing?

Back

Many no longer believe in God; important to find ethical theory that focuses on idea of human flourishing or eudaimonia (not external law giver)

Card 3

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Why did she dispute traditional theories, such as Kantian ethics and Utilitarianism?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

What does Aristotle living in a pre-Christian era mean in terms of what "ought" implies

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Describe Anscombe's analogy of the supermarket

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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