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wgu_hum_mod5_summary - Ethics and Virtue Key Concepts...

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Ethics and Virtue Key Concepts Definitions Ethics is the study of the moral values and conduct of an individual, group, or culture. Ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy ; it is employed to answer questions of morality. Morality can be defined as the rightness or wrongness of an action, a decision, or a way of living. Virtue has been defined as the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. It is often described as a particular moral excellence. Philosophers and theologians have proposed lists of the desired virtues, those traits of character or admirable properties allowing humans to achieve a virtuous life. Origins of Human Morality and Early Ethical Texts Frans de Waal has identified four types of "moral" primate behavior: empathy, following social rules, reciprocity, and peacemaking. According to de Waal, human morality includes several other elements including the rigorous enforcement of moral codes and the application of judgment and reason. Morality has been passed down orally through stories and traditions, but it has also been taught through sagas, maxims, proverbs, and sacred texts. The Epic of Gilgamesh (2150 BCE – 2000 BCE) told the story of the hero-king Gilgamesh. Morality was implied to be the ability to live up to one's responsibilities and serve his god's people. The Code of Hammurabi (circa 1760 BCE) was established by Hammurabi, the sixth Babylonian king. The Code focused on punishing the wicked and protecting the weak. The Egyptian Book of the Dead (circa 1600 BCE) set out behaviors that were prohibited of Egyptians who desired a happy afterlife. The Hebrew Torah comprises the first five books (Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; and Deuteronomy) of the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh ), and is considered the inspired word of God. It was said to have been revealed to the prophet Moses in 1380 BCE. Greek Philosophical Thought and Virtue The early Greek philosophers focused on virtue and its relationship to character. Leading thinkers like Plato and Aristotle believed that there were essential aspects to all humans in all cultures that would benefit from behaving according to a list of the key virtues. The famous philosopher Socrates (469 – 399 BCE) taught that virtue and knowledge are the same thing. Vice and evil were the absence of knowledge; in other words, ignorance. True happiness, Socrates maintained, is found when we possess knowledge of human nature and have the ability to distinguish between what really gives us happiness as opposed to what appears would give us happiness. This is what Socrates meant by
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knowledge and virtue as a way to "make the soul as good as possible." This state provides true happiness. Morality for
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wgu_hum_mod5_summary - Ethics and Virtue Key Concepts...

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