Aristotle & Sartre 2

Aristotle & Sartre 2 - Compare, moraldecisions...

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Compare, contrast and evaluate Aristotle and Sartre on making   moral decisions Aristotle and Sartre present extreme and divergent views on the subject of moral  decision-making. This is perhaps due to the prevailing attitudes of the times and  environments they grew up in. Aristotle grew up in a society that believed in the  gods as the source all human understanding and conflict. Sartre, on the other  hand, came into the world after the period of enlightenment when belief in God  was under severe criticism. Essentially, both philosophers seek to influence a higher understanding of man  and society within a moral context. A study of their theories, however, shows that  any points of convergence on how moral decisions should be made are few and  far between. This will be highlighted in subsequent paragraphs. Despite their divergent approaches, much of today’s outlook on morality is  shaped by their theories. In the West, for instance, the modern state stresses the  importance of primary school for its young based on the view that moral  education and the acquisition of knowledge must begin from a young age. This is  a key element of Aristotle’s virtue theory. Institutions, both tangible and  intangible, that grant the individual a significant degree of freedom have also  been established over the course of the last few decades. Tangible institutions  include the American Law Institute which was instrumental in the abolition of gay  sex as a crime whilst intangible institutions include the concept of tolerance  which has been integrated into the law. Here we see the influence of  existentialism which tells us that man is nothing but freedom. At this point, a description of Aristotle’s and Sartre’s theories, and the thinking  that led to their formulation, is necessary. Let us begin with Aristotle. He argues that humans have a nature that is  particular to them in the same way that other creatures have natures that are  specific to them. This is because we were created by the gods and one cannot  create something without conceiving its essence beforehand. The function of 
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man must therefore be inscribed in his essence and knowing it will enable us to  determine what the purpose of man is. He argues that the function of man must  be something uniquely human and then proceeds to find out what it is. He does  this by analyzing the components of the human soul. These include the nutritive  soul which is responsible for growth and reproduction, the perceptive soul for  perception, the locomotive soul for motion and so on. He concludes that other 
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