Intro to Ethics

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  1. Chapter 14: The Nature of Virtue
    • Happiness is the end of all our pursuits, an intrinsically desirable
    • good for the sake of which we desire all other things. Aristotle seeks
    • to give material content to this formal definition by identifying the
    • "function" or characteristic action of human beings. A happy or
    • flourishing human being is one who performs his or her function well.
    • Now, the characteristic action of the human being is to exercise reason;
    • human happiness, therefore, consists in the excellent, or virtuous,
    • activity of the rational part of the soul, in both its theoretical and
    • practical dimensions. Intellectual virtue is acquired by birth and by
    • teaching, whereas moral virtue is acquired as a result of habit; that
    • is, by performing virtuous acts until these becoming a kind of "second
    • nature" to us. Virtuous acts strive to realize a mean of feeling an
    • action between the extremes of excess and defect. The standard of virtue
    • is given not by an abstract rule but by the example of the excellent
    • person: A virtuous act is that act that the virtuous person would do in a
    • given set of circumstances.
  2. Happiness
    According to Aristotle, an activity of the soul exhibiting moral and intellectual virtue over the course of a complete life.
  3. Virtue
    • Synonymous with 'excellence' in Aristotle; comes in
    • two forms in humans: intellectual virtue, which is acquired by birth
    • and teaching, and moral virtue, which comes about by habituation.
  4. Characteristic function
    • That function the performance of which defines a
    • being as the kind of being it is; humans' characteristic function is an
    • activity of soul involving reason.
  5. Mean
    In Aristotle, the virtuous intermediate state between the two extremes of excess and defect in passions (feelings) and actions.

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Intro to Ethics
2012-03-03 18:47:29
Nature Virtue

Chapter 14
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