Virtue Ethics

The Excellent Life of Ancient Greeks

Lesson Objectives

Appreciate the importance of Ethics in our lives

Understand what it means to have an excellent character

Understand what Aristotle claims is our purpose

Appreciate the Four Kinds of People you'll meet in the world

Understand how to be Good by contemplating the Golden Mean

Appreciate the Stoic Virtues found after Aristotle

Key Terms

Arete (Eng. Virtue / Excellence)

Telos (Eng. Goal / Purpose)

Eudaimonia (Eng. Flourishing / Contentment)

Virtue Ethics (Gr. Arete Ethike)

Stoicism (Gr. Stoikos)

The Importance of Ethics

Review: First Ethics Module

• Project of Moral Philosophy

     • Is Ethics real? What's it made of? Can ethics be pursued?

     • Is Ethics merely subjective or can it be discussed objectively?

• The course from this point forward: a Moral Realist perspective

     • Ethics is real. Ethics can and ought to be pursued.

     • Moral agents are responsible for their moral choices.

Review: Contractarian Ethics

• Contract with God: DCT & Natural Law Theory (cf. St. Aquinas)

     • 1200s: Human Law from Natural Law

• Contract with each other: Social Contract Theory (cf. Hobbes)

     • 1600s: Mutual Benefit to Protect our Natural Rights

     Practical Need to Protect us from the State of Nature

The Importance of Ethics

• Hobbes: if we don't get along together, we die

• The search for 'the Good' is a struggle for our existence

• So let us contemplate ethics as if it matters — from the ground up

     • Module II: the question of personal character