132 virtue notes - Virtue Lecture Action focused views:...

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Virtue Lecture Action focused views: What is the right thing to do? How do we know what to do? The act that follows the correct rule or decision procedure. What is a person of good moral character like? One who is motivated and good at following the rule or decision procedure. Virtue theory is a character based view: What is the good person like? The good person has the right set of virtues, in the right balance. What is the right thing to do? What the virtuous person would do in that situation. What is a virtue? Virtue is “mean which is defined by a rational principle such as a man of practical wisdom would use to define it." (II 6 1106b) We can draw on Aristotle’s conception of human happiness (eudaimonia) to figure out what should be on our list of virtues. A truly happy person has fully developed human capacities (intellectual and moral), a minimally decent material life, good friends of good character, and lives in a decent society. He distinguishes intellectual from moral virtues, so we can say of moral virtues that they are enduring dispositions that support a happy human life. General moral virtue – an abiding character trait –that makes one a good steward of one’s self interest (prudent), a good human being, a good friend and a good citizen All humans should have general virtues, regardless of their particular circumstances. Special Virtues An abiding character trait that –helps you to fulfill your function in society well. –as long as a reasonably good society would include this role. Vice –a character trait that undermines your ability to function as a good friend, good citizen and to fulfill your function well. Golden Mean : disposition between two forms of excess (see chart for A) Is there just one set of virtues? Yes, humans share universal characteristics and so general virtues will all be the same. Special virtues may differ, but all functions must be compatible with the universal characteristics. No, different kinds of societies will value different things and require different virtues. Sample virtues From Aristotle: courage, generosity, magnificence, high mindedness, gentleness, friendliness, truthfulness, wittiness, wisdom
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From Christian tradition: faith, hope, charity, chastity, piety, humility, obedience From Confucianism: humanity, propriety, filial piety, broadmindedness, dignity How do we balance virtues? (e.g. loyalty and truth telling) 1) Primary virtue 2) Golden mean Becoming Virtuous We are taught. We behave according to the dictates of virtue. We begin to understand what is virtuous. We want to be virtuous, but sometimes fail. Our desires and the dictates of virtue coincide. Why be virtuous?
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 292 at San Jose State University .

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132 virtue notes - Virtue Lecture Action focused views:...

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