- Slides: 18
Virtue Ethics Learning objectives To understand the principles of virtue ethics from Aristotle To understand the ‘agent-centred nature of virtue ethics To understand the virtuous means and vices
Virtue Ethics Create a display explaining the following: • What is virtue ethics • Aristotle • Virtues • What the following mean: – Agent centred – Eudaimonia – Doctrine of the mean
Starter • What did we learn eudaimonia to be in AS? • List the things you believe personally bring happiness.
Keywords • Virtue – a positive characteristic that suggests moral excellence or goodness • Eudaimonia – a contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous • Agent-centred - ethical approaches that are focused on the development of the person rather than on the morality of what they are doing • Doctrine of the mean – the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency
Aristotle in Nichomachean Ethics states that the Human end or telos is to achieve Eudaimonia or happiness
Eudaimonia is the result of acting in a clear minded way, rather than being at the mercy of our various emotions and desires.
Eudaimonia is achieved by having self discipline and control over ones life
Not by associating happiness with pleasure seeking
Indulgence leads to unhappiness
In order to flourish humans need to ‘live the best life someone can’ Alisdair Mc. Intyre describes it as ‘the state of being well and doing well in being well’.
Our virtues must work together like the finely tuned engine of a car
Using your notes on p 164/5 to answer these questions • According to Aristotle what is the superior aim? • What are the four cardinal virtues? • How do we improve?
Aristotle • Saw ‘happiness’ (eudaimonia) as something that was sought for itself rather than as a means to some other end. • For Aristotle, happiness requires an active & thoughtful engagement with life, it is not simply given. • Hence, the virtues are qualities that are to be cultivated, expressed through & reinforced by action. 13
What are the virtues? • Depends very largely upon circumstances. • For example, courage would be a desirable & necessary virtue for a military person. • For a religious person, humility & obedience might be equally important. • Socially, one might consider the virtues of modesty, politeness & perhaps even good-humour. 14
• Such qualities are called virtues because of the effect of exercising them. • Therefore, they may not provide their own intrinsic justification. • It could be argued, therefore, that they are ‘means to an end’ – namely the flourishing & welfare of society or of the individual. 15
Plato, Aristotle and the ‘cardinal’ virtues. What are the 4 ‘cardinal’ virtues? • • Temperance (or moderation) Justice Courage Prudence (or wisdom) [now think of an acrostic that will ensure that you can remember them] 16
Agent Centred • Virtue ethics is understood as agent centred because it focuses on the person performing the action rather than the actions that they perform • As we develop virtues we do morally correct actions, which will in the end benefit society
Doctrine of the mean • Aristotle argued there are two vices that accompany every virtue: – Vice of deficiency is the distinct lack of virtues – Vice of excess is entirely too much of the virtue which leads to excess • At some point between the two vices exists the virtue, this is referred to as the doctrine of the mean (golden mean)