Philosophy: Aristotle's Virtue Ethics

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17 Questions

What is the ability of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments through a process of logic?


In the political realm, what is impartiality connected with?

Justice and commitment to equality

What term refers to the culmination of an individual's innate tendencies?


Which of the following is an external physical force exerted on a person?


Good habits are referred to as what?


In the personal realm, what does impartiality direct an agent to do?

Act selfishly or unfairly towards others

According to Aristotle, what is prudence?

Right reason applied to practice.

What virtue, according to the text, is also a gift of the Holy Spirit?


What, according to Socrates, is the result of an unexamined life?

A life not worth living

What, according to Nietzsche, could the ideal superior man of the future do?

Rise above conventional Christian morality to create and impose his own values

What is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person called?


According to Aristotle, what is the defining characteristic of a virtuous action?

It is performed with the right intention and in the right way.

Which of the following is NOT one of the cardinal virtues discussed in the text?


According to Aquinas, what is the ultimate source of true happiness?

Union with God

What does Aristotle's concept of the 'Golden Mean' refer to?

The optimal balance between two extremes

What is the primary way in which virtue is acquired?

Through experience and practice

What does the text suggest is the ultimate goal or purpose of living a virtuous life?

To cultivate a state of human flourishing or eudaimonia

Study Notes

Human Acts

  • A person assumes full responsibility and accountability for their actions
  • Examples of human acts include studying, working, and eating healthy foods

Acts of Man

  • Involuntary actions, not within the control of the will
  • Examples include biological and physiological movements, such as breathing, digestion, circulation of air, heartbeat, and sleepwalking

Impediments to Human Acts

  • Ignorance: absence of knowledge in a subject capable of having knowledge
    • Vincible ignorance: can be removed
    • Invincible ignorance: cannot be removed
  • Passion: powerful emotions springing from a perceived good or evil, diminishing free will
  • Fear: emotional reaction to impending danger, destroying voluntariness
  • Violence: external physical force exerted on a person
  • Habit: acquired through frequent repetition, can be good (virtues) or bad (vices)
  • Temperament: the culmination of an individual's innate tendencies

Reason and Impartiality

  • Reason: the ability of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments through logic
  • Impartiality: associated with justice and commitment to equality in politics, but can lead to selfishness in personal matters

Proper Functioning and Virtue

  • Everything has a function, and is good or bad to the extent that it fulfills or doesn't fulfill that function
  • Aristotle's Golden Mean: the desirable middle between two extremes or vices
  • Virtue: a skill, way of living, and learned through experience, involving doing right at the right time, in the right way, in the right amount, towards the right people
  • Eudaimonia: human flourishing or a life well-lived, involves facing disappointments and failure

Moral Exemplars and Aquinas

  • Moral Exemplars: people who demonstrate outstanding moral conduct in difficult circumstances
  • Aquinas: virtue is the path to happiness, and morality is about seeking what leads to our flourishing and success
  • False candidates of happiness: money, honor, power, fame, and pleasure
  • Final Happiness: consists in beatitude or supernatural union with God

Cardinal Virtues

  • Prudence: concerned with intellect, allows us to judge correctly what is right and wrong in any given situation
  • Justice: concerned with the will, involves giving everyone their rightful due
  • Fortitude: allows us to overcome fears and remain steady in the face of obstacles
  • Temperance: the restraint of our desires or passions, involves balancing legitimate goods against our inordinate desires

Other Philosophers

  • Socrates: unexamined life is not worth living, evil is the result of ignorance
  • Friedrich Nietzsche: the ideal superior man of the future could rise above conventional Christian morality to create and impose their own values
  • Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another
  • Ahisma: respect for all living things and avoidance of violence towards others
  • Groupism: the tendency to conform to the general thinking and behavior of a group
  • Wager Argument: an argument for the existence of God, based on the potential consequences of belief or disbelief

Explore the key concepts of Aristotle's virtue ethics, including Proper Functioning, the Golden Mean, and Virtue. Learn about fulfilling functions, finding the desirable middle ground, and the importance of experience in developing virtue.

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