Virtue ethics overview

'happiness'- supreme end goal/purpose of human life; good for a person
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Two types of aims
superior and subordinate
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doing one thing to achieve something different- school-qualifications-good job etc
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doing something to achieve its outcome-'because it makes me happy'- becomes superior aim
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character trait to be valued e.g. courage and justice
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what did Aristotle believe?
truly virtuous person is virtuous all the time as it's instinctive
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Moral virtues
developing a good character- cultivated by habit and experience
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Intellectual virtues
qualities of the mind developed via learning
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Cardinal virtues
most valued virtues- work coherently- cannot work separately
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Four cardinal virtues
wisdom, temperance, courage and justice
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Most valuable virtue
reason- we can work out what is right- thus possible to reach eudaimonia.
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Virtue ethics is...
relative- judges based on intent of action, not the action itself
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It's also...
character based- right act is the action a virtuous person would do in the same circumstance
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primarily focused on he kind of person we should become rather than actions we should avoid
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examines standards for rightness & wrongness of actions-how one ought to act, morally speaking.
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not based on divine moral ethics
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how does VE value morality
for its instrumental worth
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According to Aristotle...
when people acquire good habits of character, they're better able to regulate their emotions & reason
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Leads to...
helps us reach morally correct decisions when we face difficult choices
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emphasis on... (name)
learning how to break bad habits of character, e.g. greed/anger- vices; prevent become a good person
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VE concerned with 3 questions
who am I? who ought I become? How do I get to the end?
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The Golden Mean
mid-point of each moral virtue between excess and deficiency
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vice of deficiency
not enough of the virtue- e.g. cowardice (bravery)
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vice of excess
too much of the virtue- e.g. rashness/impetuous (bravery)
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moral virtues are cultivated by habit/practice
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Aristotle- quote
'what is the highest of all goods? is happiness'
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our reliance on action and not consequences is wrong. modern moral philosophy-misguided as it associates good with actions not people
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"How can there be any moral laws if there is no God?"
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Aristotle- virtues
"We become just by doing just acts."
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Baier's criticism
Aristotle-argues that virtues were only accessible to men-thus androcentric
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agrees with Aristotle's differentiation between the two types of virtue. e.g.
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Example Hursthouse uses
child genius; a child genius may have several intellectual virtues - because they can be taught - but may lack certain moral virtues - because moral virtues only come about through time and experience.
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virtue is important in achieving our purpose-He said that human virtue depends on a sense of community:"Virtues which sustain the households and communities..."
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Two types of aims


superior and subordinate

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