Ethics the basics by john mizzoni l.jpg
This presentation is the property of its rightful owner.
Sponsored Links
1 / 41

Ethics—The Basics by John Mizzoni PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • 202 Views
  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

Ethics—The Basics by John Mizzoni. CHAPTER TWO: VIRTUE ETHICS. Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS. Road rage— What causes it? Differences between feelings/emotions and behavior/actions. Virtue Ethics (sometimes called Character Ethics) relates our feelings to our behavior….

Download Presentation

Ethics—The Basics by John Mizzoni

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript


Ethics the basics by john mizzoni l.jpg

Ethics—The Basicsby John Mizzoni

CHAPTER TWO:

VIRTUE ETHICS


Ethics the basics virtue ethics l.jpg

Ethics—The BasicsVIRTUE ETHICS

  • Road rage—What causes it?

  • Differences between feelings/emotions and behavior/actions.

  • Virtue Ethics (sometimes called Character Ethics) relates our feelings to our behavior…


Ethics the basics virtue ethics3 l.jpg

Ethics—The BasicsVIRTUE ETHICS

Virtue ethics is an ethical tradition that focuses on:

  • How emotions relate to actions

  • How human beings are able to control their emotions

  • How human beings are able to gain happiness for themselves


Ethics the basics virtue ethics4 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

Before Socrates, the earliest known Greek moral philosopher, there was virtue ethics.


Ethics the basics virtue ethics5 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

  • Important Pre-Socratics—Pythagoras, Democritus, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras

  • Important Sophists—Protagoras, Thrasymachus, Callicles, Hippias

  • The 3 most well-known Greek philosophers agreed that answers to questions about ethics depend on answers to questions about human nature:

    • Socrates—founder of ethical studies

    • Plato—author of many ethical dialogues

    • Aristotle—author of Nicomachean Ethics


Ethics the basics virtue ethics6 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

Virtue ethics has continued from the ancient world to our own:

  • School and Community Programs

    • The Boy Scout Law

    • Character Counts!

    • The Virtues Project

  • Church-sponsored Programs

    • School of Virtue (Kids for Jesus)

  • Employment Programs

    • The Josephson Institute

  • Popular Culture

    • Adventures from the Book of Virtues


Ethics the basics virtue ethics7 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

Virtue ethics addresses all four of the ethical problems we are considering. However:

  • WHAT IS A VIRTUE?

  • WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF VIRTUES?


Ethics the basics virtue ethics8 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS


Ethics the basics virtue ethics9 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

  • A virtue is a trait of character of a person that is good for that person to have. (Aristotle, 337 BCE)

  • A moral virtue is a mean between two extremes. (Aristotle, 337 BCE)

  • This is Aristotle’s Principle of The Golden Mean


Ethics the basics virtue ethics10 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS


Ethics the basics virtue ethics11 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

For example, courage is the mean between cowardice (deficiency) and rashness (excess).


Ethics the basics virtue ethics12 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

Aristotle was not alone in this idea:

  • In ancient China, Confucius called one of his important teachings “The Doctrine of the Mean”

  • In ancient India, the Buddha called his philosophy of life “The Middle Way”


Ethics the basics virtue ethics13 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

  • Moral excellence—a moral virtue—consists in a mean state.

  • “By virtue I mean virtue of character… it is concerned with feelings and actions….” (Aristotle, 337 BCE)

  • “Virtue, then, is a mean, in so far as it aims at what is intermediate.” (Aristotle, 337 BCE)


Ethics the basics virtue ethics14 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

According to Aristotle, two things are important in achieving happiness (eudaemonia) in our lives:

  • how we handle our feelings

  • the rational judgment we use in developing our virtues


Ethics the basics virtue ethics15 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

In Aristotle’s thinking, every human being has a rational soul:

  • The rational soul (reason) can help us to control our feelings.

  • If feelings are well-controlled, virtues develop; if they are not well-controlled, vices develop.


Ethics the basics virtue ethics16 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

For example, temperance is a mean that focuses on our desires:

  • If we let our desires control us, we are intemperate

  • If we deny our desires entirely, we repress our humanity

  • Controlling our desires to the correct degree leads to excellence

    QUESTIONS?


Ethics the basics virtue ethics17 l.jpg

Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

The Golden Mean is Not Mathematical

  • It is like hitting the bulls-eye in archery

    The Golden Mean is Not Precise

  • It is a mean that is relative to us, perhaps even to each of us

    • Like hitting the sweet spot on a baseball bat

      For Aristotle, ethics is not a precise science, it is about living the good life.

      WHAT IS THE “GOOD LIFE”?


  • Ethics the basics virtue ethics18 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    The “Good Life” is a life that leads to eudaemonia:

    • happiness

    • flourishing

    • excellence

    • well-being

    • self-realization (Abraham Maslow)


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics19 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    “Human Nature” for Aristotle:

    • Humans are rational animals

      • Humans are unique animals because of their reason

    • Humans are social/political animals

      • Humans flourish in groups

      • Humans have social origins

      • Humans succeed in social pursuits


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics20 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    A “moral virtue”, for Aristotle, is a trait of character:

    • A trait that is not “natural” to us

    • A trait that develops through habit

      • A habit is a repeated action

      • “Practice makes perfect”

        Potential → Repeated actions → Habit formation → Character


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics21 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Thus, Aristotle’s model of human nature is a developmental model:

    • Humans are born with rational minds (potential)

      • Human develop awareness of self

      • Humans develop awareness of choice

    • There is a time in our lives to “train” ourselves (input phase)

    • There is a time in our lives when our character flows easily in action (output phase)

      Potential → Repeated actions → Habit formation → Character


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics22 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Old Testament Scripture supports this developmental model:

    “Train up a child in the way he should go[input], and when he is old he will not depart from it[output]” (Proverbs 22:5).

    Potential → Repeated actions → Habit formation → Character


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics23 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    In Aristotle’s development model, the idea of a role model is very important:

    • One of the natural ways we learn is by copying others

    • Some role models of virtuous lives:

      • Jesus (WWJD = What Would Jesus Do?)

      • Saints (Francis of Assisi, Maria Goretti, Dominic Savio)

      • Others (Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.)


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics24 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    • Virtues are good for the individual who practices them

    • Virtues are good for those who have social contact with the virtuous person

      Many of the virtues have to do with our dealings with others


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics25 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    There are two kinds of virtues:

    • Intellectual virtues can be taught.

    • Moral virtues can only be learned through habitual practice.


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics26 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    • Example of an intellectual virtue:

      • Knowledge

    • Examples of moral virtues:

      • Prudence

      • Justice

      • Fortitude

      • Temperance


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics27 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    The Instruction of Ptahhotep, written 4000 years ago, long before Aristotle, recommends the following virtues to everyone:

    Self-control, moderation, kindness, generosity, justice, truthfulness, and discretion


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics28 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    In New Testament Scripture, Paul’s letters support virtue ethics:

    • Practice virtues (e.g. Galatians 5:22):

      Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control

    • Don’t practice vices (e.g. Galatians 5:19):

      Fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing

    • Follow an exemplary model of character (Galatians 2:20):

      “…it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics29 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Universalist virtue ethics:

    • Admits that different cultures emphasize different virtues

    • BUT states that some virtues are universally important


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics30 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Relativist virtue ethics:

    • Admits that different cultures emphasize different virtues

    • AND states there are NO universally important virtues


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics31 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    • To interpret different inventories of virtues from different cultures and times (cultural relativism) as proof of ethical relativism is to commit the fallacy of hasty generalization.

    • Ethical relativism is an exaggeration of cultural relativism.


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics32 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    What, then, is the nature of man?

    • According to Aristotle, we are essentially rational in nature.

    • Mizzoni adds that we are also emotional, social, and political in nature, and Aristotle notes this.

      WHAT ABOUT SPIRITUAL?


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics33 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    What is the good life, according to Aristotle?

    • Everything in nature has a purpose

    • The purpose of man is to exercise his reason in a life of virtue, or moderation, to achieve happiness


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics34 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    • Some scholars view Aristotle’s model as leading to a life of contemplation rather than to a life of action.

    • Other scholars view this model of human development as leading to a life of action (courage and justice), with a retirement to contemplation.


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics35 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Ethics and Literature

    The virtues and vices that are important in developing a literary character are an essential part of the plot.

    CAN YOU THINK OF ANY VIRTUOUS LITERARY CHARACTERS…? …ANY VICIOUS ONES?


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics36 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Advantages of Virtue Ethics

    • It provides a reasonable account of moral motivation

    • It is flexible

    • It focuses on the whole person

    • It fits well with common sense

    • It accounts for the fact that partiality, not impartiality, is a part of life


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics37 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Disadvantages of Virtue Ethics

    • Virtue ethics is anthropocentric

    • Virtue ethics is individually focused

    • Virtue ethics is incomplete

      • Why is one trait better than another?

      • How do we resolve moral conflict?

      • What about people with disabilities?


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics38 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Conclusion: Origins of Virtue Ethics

    • Ethical standards come from a combination of human nature and society. (Societal standards that contradict human nature would not lead to human happiness.)

    • Ethical standards do not come from God or religion


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics39 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Conclusion: Relativism v. Universalism

    • Cultural relativism may be true, because we observe ethical diversity among cultures, but ethical relativism could not be true, because some virtues are important in any culture.

    • Aristotle, then, is a ethical universalist who accepts cultural relativism


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics40 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Conclusion: Human Nature

    • Aristotle argues for a universal human nature, observing that all human beings are striving after happiness.

    • Aristotle observes that human beings are rational animals (who can control their actions and feelings, and choose what habits they will develop), and social/political animals.


    Ethics the basics virtue ethics41 l.jpg

    Ethics—The Basics VIRTUE ETHICS

    Conclusion: What Makes Something Right or Wrong?

    • Virtue ethics answers such questions as:

      • How one should live a life?

      • What is a life lived well?

      • What kind of person I should become in terms of virtues and universal human nature?

    • A trait is virtuous if it is a product of our developed natural potential and if it contributes to our happiness, well-being, and flourishing. DOES ALL THIS INFORMATION HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT THING TO DO?


  • Login