Virtue Ethics

louisge
Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

A-level Philosophy (Moral Philosophy) Mind Map on Virtue Ethics, created by louisge on 05/21/2014.

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louisge
Created by louisge over 5 years ago
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Virtue Ethics
1 Main concepts: Virtue, Moral Wisdom, Eudaimonia
1.1 Plato/Aristotle: What sort of person should I be? Agent-centered theory: Being rather than Doing. Virtues are simply ideal character traits
1.1.1 Virtuous people still have blind spots, someone who never lies might be snobbish for example
1.2 Virtue: Disposition well-entrenched in its possesion-to have virtues is to possess a certain complex mindset
1.2.1 e.g. An honest person is someone who doesn't lie as they recognise that lying is wrong because it is dishonest, not for fear of being caught out
1.2.2 We make reasoned decisions based on our concepts of morality
1.3 Perfect/Continence Virtue
1.3.1 Fully virtuous people will do things without a struggle against contary desires, whilst the continent will face temptation
1.3.1.1 e.g.a poor person who picks up a purse without temptation to keep it is more virtuous than someone who struggles with temptation
1.4 Practical Wisdom
1.4.1 Helds by adults only, enables us to know what to do in moral situations. Without PW, we might make wrong decisions based on virtue e.g. lying to prevent hurting s.ones feelings
1.4.1.1 Children may possess confusions dispositions such as courage=fearlessness. Their ignorance is a lack of PW, & they are not culpable for messing up
1.4.1.1.1 PW allows us to understand the real benefits of actions by the doer, so with PW we tell the person the cold truth which they will benefit from knowing in the LR
1.4.1.1.2 PW comes with experience of life, the virtuous are aware of the consequences of certain actions so do not make short-sighted decisions
1.4.1.1.3 The practically wise understand what is truly worthwhile/advantageous. Nothing competes with virtues such as honesty & justice
1.4.1.1.4 They have an understanding of 'eudaimonia'
1.4.1.1.4.1 Eudaimonia=Happiness/Flourishing
1.4.1.1.4.1.1 Eudaimonia require living in accordance with virtues, a human life devoted to wealth is not eudaimonic. Virtues are what enable us to have eudaimonia
2 Difference from other theories
2.1 Utilitarianism/Kant focus on actions in the moment, whilst VT looks at how we should live as a whole life
2.2 Being good because it is good for you: unlike Kant's theory, honesty is good as it's your best policy. Virtues are attractive qualities in a social envrionment. Kant's categorical imperative does not make you more good if you enjoy carrying it out-it prescribes doing what is right simply because it is right. VT includes benefits of actions whilst Kant does not
2.2.1 Utilitarianism focuses on benefits of the majority, not of the agent-whose happiness can be overidden by the majority
2.3 VF is holistic as it deals with the whole life rather than the action itself (atomistic)
2.4 Utilitarianism & Kant sideline people as they treat them as a means to an end. Kant only respects people out of reason. VT takes all aspects of character into account, rather than just duty
3 Visiting a friend in hospital
3.1 Utilitarianism: Visit friend as means of greatest happinessprinciples of utility would say a stranger who got more happiness from visiting your friend should visit him instead-your friend comes second in the quest for utility
3.2 Kant: Visit friend because its rational & consistent with the categorical imperative. You are only visiting out of moral duty
3.3 Virtue: You are visiting beause they are your friend, and friendliness is a virtue
4 CRIT: VF does not give adequate moral guidance

Annotations:

  • If I do not know what virtues are or how to apply them to my situation, VF is confusing as all it prescribes is for us to be 'virtuous'. What if I don't know any virtuous people? I have no criterion for judging which actions are virtuous
4.1 RESP: Other theories can be crit. in same way, it is an unrealistic criticism

Annotations:

  • This crit. assumes the person is oblivious to virtues, virtues are learnt trough experience & anyone growing up in society has an understanding of virtues. No theory can deal with this kind of person. With a simple understanding of VT, the person can ask themselves what the most virtuous things to do are.In fact, VT prescribes practising virtues for virtue accquisition.
5 CRIT: Clashing Virtues

Annotations:

  • What happens when we want to leak information but want also to remain loyal to our company? Loyalty & Honesty clash. To be virtuous, we must also be vicious.
6 CRIT: There is no single 'human 'nature

Annotations:

  • Eudaimonia must come in different forms to adjust for all varities of culture. Aristotle is wrong is saying there is one telos.
6.1 RESP: On a DNA level, we all share one human nature

Annotations:

  • There are shared constants in human nature e.g. no-one flourishes under torture or starvation. This provides a basis for human eudaimonia.
  • Also, many cutural differences are simply the same virtues applied to different situations, e.g. we put our old folks in care homes whilst the Inuit place them on ice floats to die. The underlying value is that society is trying to preserve its elderly without compromising the lives of others.
7 CRIT: Doing the right thing may lead to self-sacrifice
7.1 RESP: It is better to die heroically, true to yourself

Annotations:

  • Virtues are likely to lead to a long & properous life, there is no guarantee. A situation requiring you to sacrifice yourself is simply unlucky.

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