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Ethical virtues essay assignment
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PART-1 600 WORDS
Aristotle says that the virtues are necessary for humans to attain happiness, but he means this in terms of something we might call “flourishing” or “living well”, which he considers quite different than simply feeling good. Thus, according to Aristotle some people might feel that they are happy, but because they lack the virtues they are not truly flourishing. However, imagine someone that is deceitful, selfish, greedy, self-indulgent, and yet enjoys great pleasure and appears to be quite happy. Is someone like this “flourishing” or not? Explain your answer this by referring to this week’s readings and media, and if possible provide examples from real life and/or from literature, film, TV, etc.
PART 2- 600 WORDS
What are 2 virtues that you believe are important to living a flourishing or successful life in either Aristotle’s sense? Explain what goods in human life these virtues enable their possessor to fulfill. Provide examples of characteristic behavior that manifests these virtues, and contrast that with behavior that displays a lack of virtue. Do your examples confirm Aristotle’s view that a virtue is a mean between extremes of excess and defect? If so, explain what those extremes are; if not, explain why. Refer to this week’s readings and media to illustrate and support your claims.
- Aristotle. (350 B.C.E.). Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html
- Aristotle provides the classic framework for virtue ethics by identifying “happiness” or “living well” as the purpose of human life, giving an account of what that means, and explicating the virtues as those characteristics necessary to live well.
- Hill, T. (1983). Ideals of human excellence and preserving natural environments. Journal of Environmental Ethics, 5(3), 211-24. Retrieved from http://www.umweltethik.at/download.php?id=403
- This article attempts to outline a response to the problem of environmental preservation through the lens of virtue ethics. Hill utilizes virtue ethics to examine how people ought to respond to the environment and how others might be able to judge their actions through the lens of the virtues that they display.
- Robinson, P. (2007). Magnanimity and integrity as military virtues. Journal of Military Ethics, 6(4), 259-269. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
- This article relates to the second applied ethics topic this week: military ethics. In this article, Robinson examines military ethics through the lens of virtue and argues for a re-evaluation of military virtues.
- Nussbaum, M. (n.d.). Virtue ethics [Video file]. Retrieved from http://goo.gl/nLAsm3
- This very short clip explains some key features of Aristotelian virtue ethics.
- Wingclips. (n.d.). The bridge on the river Kwai [Movie clip]. Retrieved from http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-bridge-on-the-river-kwai/the-best-bridge
- In this clip from the film, which is set during World War II, a group of British Army prisoners of war are building a bridge for their Japanese captors. The Colonel expresses the significance of character in the life of the soldier.
- Wingclips. (n.d.). The emperor’s club [Movie clip]. Retrieved from http://www.wingclips.com/movie-clips/the-emperors-club/who-we-really-are
- The clip from this film relates to cheating and the relationship between cheating and one’s moral character. It also explores responses to virtue ethics and the relationship between virtue and success.
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