Aristotle and Virtue Ethics
The Nicomachean Ethics:
- Philosophical Background -
- Socrates - Virtue is knowledge of good and evil
- Plato - Virtue is the harmony between the parts of the soul -
- Spirit (Will)
- The Cardinal Virtues -
- Aristotle's Method: Teleology and the Hierarchy of Goods -
Every activity or action aims at some end ['telos'] which is its good
- Two types of ends -
- Intermediate - done for the sake of something else
- Final - done for its own sake
- The social Sciences/Inquiries/Knowledges ['episteme'] are activities which aim at an end
- Politics incorporates all the social sciences - it is the greatest knowledge
- What is the goal of Politics? To Secure Happiness ['eudimonia']
- What is Happiness?
- pleasure - for the sake of happiness?
- wealth - for the sake of stuff?
- honor - for the sake of power?
- virtue - for the sake of happiness?
- What is a Man?
- Four types of souls -
- nutritive life
- rational (life of thought)
- Man is the Rational Animal - To live according to reason is what it is to be human
- What is the Virtue/Excellence of Man?
- Intellectual Virtue - discipline of the thought acquired through education
- Moral Virtue - discipline of action acquired through habituated moral action
- Is acting morally the same as being moral? Is performing moral actions sufficient to be a moral person?
- One must have knowledge of what is moral - ignorance is amoral
- One must Will the moral action - no accidental morality
- One must act out of a consistent character - no occasional morality
- How do we learn to act morally?
- What is human virtue? - the soul-state which enables achievement of the human function - three possible soul-states
- excess - vice
- deficiency - vice
- mean - virtue
- How do we achieve the moral skill? We Practice aiming for the Golden Mean.
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