The idea of virtue ethics was first introduced to the world by Aristotle over 2,300 years ago in 325 BC (Rachels 173). Virtue ethics operate on the belief that people develop good character by looking at the virtues they admire in other people and emulating them. In order to do this, a person must ask themselves what kind of person they want to be and focus on choosing characteristics not specific people to emulate. Unfortunately, virtue ethics were quickly overshadowed by other perspectives on ethical theory as Christianity gained popularity and values changed. As time went on people stopped asking themselves, “What traits make a good person?” and instead asked, “What is the right thing to do?” (Rachels 174).
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the concept of happiness is introduced as the ultimate good one can achieve in life as well as the ultimate goal of human existence. As Aristotle goes on to further define happiness, one can see that his concept is much different from the 21st-century view. Aristotelian happiness can be achieved through choosing to live the contemplative life, which would naturally encompass moralistic virtue. This differs significantly from the modern view of happiness, which is heavily reliant on material goods. To a person in the 21st-century, happiness is simply an emotional byproduct one experiences as a result of acquiring material goods.
We are trying to reach happiness. According to Aristotle’s writing called, Nicomachean Ethics, all actions performed by humans aim to gain happiness, happiness is the ultimate end, and that happiness is greatly determined by moral and intellectual virtues. However, I will discuss how some believe that his doctrine of the mean lacks the direction of how one achieves equilibrium of the virtues. In addition, I will explain how Aristotle’s ethics, in fact, does give sufficient advice of how a person can live virtuously. Firstly, Aristotle
Nicomachean Ethics and Function Argument In the first book of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle’s informs the reader what Eudaimonia, or living well, is. The purpose of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, is to discover the human good. For Aristotle, the way to figure out a human being’s good, we have to identify what the function of a human being is. Throughout Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle claims that human function is rational activity and reason. Aristotle’s quest to determine what Eudaimonia, which can be translated to happiness and success, is in the Nicomachean Ethics and leads him to the question of the function of human beings.
Virtue ethics, primarily founded by Aristotle, was the dominant approach in Western moral philosophy until Enlightenment .Its importance re-emerged with the dissatisfaction associated with deontology and utilitarianism, two theories unable to address issues such as moral character, moral education, friendship etc. Virtue ethics emphasize moral character and virtues, focusing on three central concepts: virtue, practical wisdom and eudaimonia. Cultural Relativism is the view that holds that moral truths cannot be applied universally, and that each person should be morally assessed based on his culture/society. This paper discusses relativist objection faced by Aristotle, its arguments and the responses offered by Aristotle, in addition to anticipated objections and Nussbaum’s responses in her paper “Non-relative virtues: An Aristotelian Approach” A major objection Aristotle faces is the relativist view connected to virtues. Contemporary virtue theory holds that criteria of ethical goodness are internal and different across societies, and therefore reject the concept of a single norm applied to all human beings.
Aristotle’s virtue ethics differs from other moral theories. Unlike deontology and consequentialism, virtue ethics emphasizes and describes moral characters (virtues). In my paper, I am going to explore the objection to virtue ethics from a relativist point of view and the responses to this objection that were presented in Nussbaum’s paper “A non-relative approach to virtue ethics.” Furthermore, I am going to present two out of three relativist objections to her responses that she anticipated, and her responses to them. The relativist’s objection Aristotle’s writings are the best prototype of virtue ethics. Contemporary virtue theories do not grasp nor represents the Aristotelian theory, because they think that it is impossible to escape the charge of relativism in virtue ethics.
The first topic in philosophical ethics I would like to discuss is Aristotle’s virtue ethics. As an objectionist, Aristotle tried to determine what a good person is. To Aristotle, happiness is what made you a good person, and that is what the chief goal in life is. He believed that happiness was achieved when a species determines its’ own telos, or purpose. Along with that, Aristotle determined three facts of humanity.
In Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle synthesizes an enthralling dissertation that, “the human good proves to be activity of soul in accord with excellence” (1098a 16-17) which requires, “a rational principle” (1098a 7-8). Even though some critics may contend that the human good lies within something other than excellently acting in accordance with reason, the case set forth in Nicomachean Ethics dismisses such detractors as inordinately obstinate in their parochial ideology. To support his conclusion, Aristotle adroitly employs several cogent premises. This paper will explain how Aristotle reaches his conclusion and examine potential flaws in his argument First, I will state each proposition in Aristotle’s argument. After I present an individual
In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, he describes his feeling and thoughts on pleasure; he discusses that pleasure is good and that the feeling of eudaimonia is connected to pleasure. Eudaimonia, also know as the term for happiness in Greek, means “a contented state of being happy and healthy and prosperous” (dictionary.com). Aristotle describes happiness as the main purpose of all human lives and that it is absolutely the essential goal for all humans. I disagree with Aristotle’s statement that a life of pleasure cannot be the best life because just because a person finds pleasure in different ventures other than being virtuous doesn’t make them an animalistic person. Aristotle indicates that pleasure is the most necessary part of unimpeded activity, but pleasure on it own, can be unintended from an activity; in which pleasure itself would develop from activity without any type of drawbacks.
It is of moral importance to cultivate habitual acts such as generosity, courage and friendship ( ). Virtue Ethics live a life of moral character and quire virtue through practice. They do not have a specific set of moral rules or laws for resolving ethnical problems. Virtue Ethics is a cultivation of moral character, it focuses on being and character. Virtue Ethics is habitual, not necessarily religious and involves having a complex mindset with no external influence.