Bare Bones Ethics - Bare Bones Part 2: Ethical Theories The...

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Bare Bones Part 2: Ethical Theories
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The Virtue Ethics of Aristotle from The Nicomachea n Ethics
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Aristotle is in search of The Supreme Good, that for the sake of which all else is done . . . . . . This is that at which we are to aim, like archers at a target.
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Happiness is finally discovered to be the Supreme Good, but the Greek idea indicated something considerably broader than our English word. Happiness as EUDAIMONI A
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Another definition of The Good is that which enables a being to carry out its proper function well. Aristotle is exclusive rather than inclusive, looking for what characteristics make humans unique, rather than those they share with other forms of life. So what is “the function of man”?
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Aristotle decides that “the function of man” is activity of the soul in accordance with reason , man’s highest faculty, and so those without reason are said to lack happiness, as
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The Nature of the Virtues and their Origin VIRTUE: That which enables Man to Perform His Proper Function Well
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Virtue is a mean state between excess and deficiency Not enough Too much
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Philosophical Reflection Thought or Contemplation, the Action of Reason, was for Aristotle the Greatest Happiness of All
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MacIntyre’s understanding of VIRTUE depends on his definition of a PRACTICE: Alasdair MacIntyre is a Contemporary Virtue Ethicist
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MacIntyre distinguishe s between Goods that are Internal to a Practice and Goods that are External to a Practice Cheating is Self- Defeating in Seeking Internal Goods
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MacIntyre holds JUSTICE , HONESTY , and COURAGE to be the Virtues necessary to achieving excellence in any Practice having Internal Goods COURAGE is a virtue rooted in Care
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Virtue Renders Humans Able to Perform Their Proper Function Well Group: “Politics” Individual: “Ethics” Species: Ecological Niche From Alasdair MacIntyre:
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Thomas Hobbes is said to have been born prematurely when his mother first heard about the approaching Spanish Armada, on the attack against England. Hobbes often remarked that he was born “a twin with fear,” and he saw civil war and much social turmoil over his lifetime. His philosophy therefore emphasized the need for a centralized power to provide protection against threats to an individual’s life and property. The Ethical Theory of Thomas Hobbes
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Hobbes Embraced the Metaphysics of Mechanism Hobbes rejected Cartesian dualism by dispensing with the nonmaterial “soul.” He was much impressed by Galileo’s physics, and considered everything to be ultimately reducible to bodies or matter in motion. He was once Francis Bacon’s assistant.
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Atomistic Individualism Hobbes patterned human behavior on the behavior of “atoms,” which in his day were conceived as hard, massy, solid particles that only interacted with one another through external collisions.
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As each social atom pursues his or her self- interest, they are bound to come into conflict with one another.
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The “War of All Against All”
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Living in “the State of Nature”: People live by “the natural
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course PHI 4633H taught by Professor Hawkins during the Spring '11 term at University of Central Florida.

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Bare Bones Ethics - Bare Bones Part 2: Ethical Theories The...

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