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Chapter 15: Ethics and the Moral Life
- Unlike Kantianism and utilitarianism, Aristotle"s moral theory is
- primarily focused not on what it is right to do but on what it is good
- to be; that is, on what character traits the good person possesses
- (e.g., courage, truthfulness, self-control). Such an ethics of character
- possesses a practical simplicity that offsets the greater logical
- simplicity of an ethics of principles. We find moral guidance by looking
- to a person who embodies, or a unified character type that exemplifies,
- some human ideal. We become better, more virtuous, by imitating this
- ideal as much as it is possible for us to do.
Ethics of character
- Moral theory like Aristotle's that focuses
- primarily on what kind of person it is good to be, what kind of traits
- it is good to embody; an ethics of Being as opposed to an ethics of
Ethics of principle
- Moral theory like Kantianism or utilitarianism that
- focuses primarily on what kind of action it is right to do; an ethics
- of Doing as opposed to an ethics of Being.
Heroes and saints we strive imitate or be like, with varying degrees of success.