Unformatted text preview: Raphael's Scuola di Atena Raphael' Socrates c. 469 - 399 Plato Aristotle 427-347 384-322 Teleological Perspective
Everything seeks or strives towards some goal - Everything has a natural function or purpose - Its `end' (or telos) is part of what a thing is end' telos) -- Value and purpose are inherent in all things Ex: Artifacts, like knives Aristotle's Ethics
Aim is to find the telos of human beings
- Focus is not on right and wrong (innocence and guilt) - Focus is instead on noble and base ("proper pride" and shame) pride" Instrumental and Intrinsic Goods
Why come to class? Perhaps: To get a good grade Instrumental good Why seek good grades? grades? Perhaps: To get a good job Instrumental good Why seek a good job? job? Perhaps: To gain wealth Why seek to gain wealth? wealth? Perhaps: Wealth is good Intrinsic good A single "chief good" (or telos)
What if there are multiple intrinsic goods? What if they conflict? -- Deliberation requires a basis - a further end to aim at (like the archers I.2.i) -- This is the chief good for human beings - Eudaimonia = Flourishing (or happiness) 1 What is Flourishing?
Is it pleasure? pleasure?
No: This is a sign of flourishing, not its essence -- It is available to the beasts How to Identify Flourishing
Find the special function of human beings (I.7.v) (Aristotle's teleology at work) (Aristotle' -- Not nutrition and growth (shared with plants) -- Not perception (shared with animals) Instead: "Life of the rational element" element" -- Life of reason, deliberation, agency - Not mere capacity - Not governed by impulse Is it honor? honor?
No: We only want this as a sign of actual worth Is it power and wealth? wealth?
No: These are only instrumentally valuable Flourishing
Human function is activity in accord with reason Good human function is therefore: "activity of the soul exhibiting excellence" (I.7.v) excellence" Soul = Rational nature Excellence = Virtue Flourishing is virtuous action, or a life of virtue What is a Virtue?
Not just doing the right thing -- Could be accidental, or for the wrong reason Not just being able to tell right from wrong -- Different from a skill or an art Not just doing the right thing because it is right -- Must also be reliable A virtue is: A stable disposition to do the right thing because it is right (II.4.iii) How to Become Virtuous?
Virtues are not innate -- do not develop automatically Potential for virtue is innate -- but requires teaching and habit (habits make all the difference II.1.iii) What are the Virtues?
Aristotle claims no authority here - Denies the possibility of a definite answer or formula -- Ethical wisdom is uncodifiable Tool for identifying virtues: Doctrine of the Mean Only through performance of virtuous acts can we become virtuous 2 Doctrine of the Mean
For any sphere of human activity, activity, Find the mean between a deficiency and an excess Sphere of Vice of Activity Deficiency Facing danger Sharing wealth Cowardice Miserliness Virtue (mean) Bravery Generosity Vice of Excess Foolhardiness Wastefulness 3 ...
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- Fall '05
- Ethics , human beings