paper - Jon Wells 4/29/10 Phil 105 Sec. 18 Being Good...

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Jon Wells 4/29/10 Phil 105 Sec. 18 Being Good Without God As humans, we are raised and taught in our early years about things that are acceptable to do and things that are not suitable for human behavior. For example, as little kids we are taught to not play with fire, look both ways before crossing the street, and always wear a seatbelt. Often in life, there are more complex and complicated ideas that one has to deal with. In both Aristotle and Aquinas’ works on virtues and moral responsibility, they discuss the ability for one to become a “good soul.” The two also argue that one can be considered a virtuous person throughout one’s life and ultimately finding a final end or telos . Aristotle first says that one can be a virtuous person in their life without the guidance from a god. Aquinas believes that one cannot be virtuous be without the presence and commitment to God in one’s life. This ability requires actions greater than simply wearing a seatbelt or playing with fire and is an argument of one being able to obtain virtues while becoming a “good” person with or without the help of a God. These arguments and their respective conclusions about why one can be considered a good and virtuous person without God will be made evident in this essay. From a religious view, many Catholics believe that one can be both good and virtuous without the presence of a spiritual being or special revelation from God. Basic prohibitions against intentionally killing another, stealing, and adultery are understood as wrongful actions without any special guidance from god (Fox, Natural Law). As the Ten Commandments were passed down to Moses, one of them read, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” A virtuous person may know that it is wrong to kill, but according to the Roman Catholic view of Natural Law, one who 1
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abides by Natural Law will know the following that there are exceptions to the law. A good hypothetical example of this is when two people, Joe and Bob, get into an argument. All of the sudden Joe pulls out a gun and tries to shoot Bob. Bob just so happens to have knowledge of Natural Law and knows that he does not have to die just because Joe decided to shoot him. Bob then proceeds to take the gun from Joe and shoots him instead. Now this action may be classified as murder, but as reason dictates the taking of human life is sometimes deemed lawful; therefore the unlawful taking of a life is prohibited. A virtuous person has the ability to abide by the Natural Law and know that there are certain circumstances that one can encounter which force one to commit actions that ultimately have evil conclusions. It is the ability of this person to use
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This note was uploaded on 04/18/2011 for the course PHILOSOPHY 100 taught by Professor Briancross during the Spring '09 term at Saint Louis.

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paper - Jon Wells 4/29/10 Phil 105 Sec. 18 Being Good...

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