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Chapter 9

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  • 1. Chapter Nine: Virtue Theory Aretaic Ethics: Come from the Greek word arete which translates as “excellence” or “virtue” The virtue or value of the actions is not in the act, but is in the heart of the actor. Virtue Ethics emphasizes being a certain person with a certain quality of character.
  • 2. Virtue Theory
    • Seeks to produce excellent persons.
    • Seeks to have people act out of spontaneous goodness.
    • Seeks to have those who are excellent inspire others.
    • Aretic Ethics focuses on the goal of life which is to live well and achieve excellence.
  • 3. Virtue Theory
    • Virtues : trained behavioral dispositions that result in habitual acts of moral goodness
    • Vice : trained behavioral dispositions that result in habitual acts of moral wrongness
    • Cardinal virtues : main virtues of wisdom, temperance, courage, and justice
    • Theological virtues : faith, hope and charity
  • 4. The Nature of Virtue Ethics
    • Virtue Ethics claims that it is important to not only do the right thing, but also to have the correct disposition, motivation, and emotion in being good and doing right.
    • Virtue Ethics is not only about action, but also about emotions, characters, and moral habits.
    • Virtues traditionally divided into two types: moral and nonmoral virtues
  • 5. Moral Virtues
    • Honesty
    • Benevolence
    • Nonmalevolence
    • Fairness
    • Kindness
    • Conscientiousness
    • Gratitude
  • 6. Nonmoral Virtues
    • Courage
    • Optimism
    • Rationality
    • Self-Control
    • Patience
    • Endurance
    • Industry
    • Musical Talent
    • Cleanliness
    • Wit
  • 7. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics
    • To achieve a state of well being (eudaimonia), proper social institutions are necessary.
    • The moral person cannot exist apart from a political setting that enables him or her to develop the requisite virtues for the good life.
    • Ethics is therefore considered a branch of politics.
  • 8. Aristotle
    • Humanity has an essence, or function.
    • The function of humans is to use their reason in pursuit of the good life.
    • Moral virtues are different from intellectual ones.
    • By living well, we acquire the right habits.
    • These habits are the virtues.
  • 9. Aristotle
    • Virtues exist between a mean that has excess and deficiency at either end.
    • We need to choose along this mean the proper course of action, towards the right conclusion.
    • People have unequal ability to be virtuous. Some have great ability; some lack it entirely.
    • Some people are worthless, natural slaves.
  • 10. The Ideal Individual
    • Father Maximilian Kolbe
    • Jesus
    • Socrates
    • Gandhi
    • Mother Theresa
    • All of their lives have exhibited appropriate attitudes and dispositions of Virtue Ethics.
  • 11. Criticisms of Action-Based Ethics
    • Action Based Ethics Lack a Motivational Component
    • Action Based Ethics are Founded on an Obsolete Theological-Legal Model
    • Action Based Ethics Ignore the Spontaneous Dimension of Ethics
    • Action Based Ethics are Minimalist and Neglect the Development of Character
    • Action Based Ethics Overemphasize Autonomy and Neglect Community
  • 12. Connections Between Virtue-Based and Action-Based Ethics Pure Virtue Ethics : The virtues are dominant and have intrinsic value. Moral rules or duties are derived from the virtues
  • 13. Connections Between Virtue-Based and Action-Based Ethics Standard Action-Based view : Action-guiding principles are the essence of morality. The virtues are derived from the principles and are instrumental in performing right actions.
  • 14. Connections Between Virtue-Based and Action-Based Ethics Complementarity (Pluralistic) Ethics : Both action-based and virtue-based models are necessary for an adequate and complete system. Neither the virtues nor the rules are primary; they complement each other, and both may have intrinsic value.