QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE ANSWERED
What are 2 virtues that you believe are important to living a flourishing or successful life in either Aristotle’s sense? Explain what goods in human life these virtues enable their possessor to fulfill. Provide examples of characteristic behavior that manifests these virtues, and contrast that with behavior that displays a lack of virtue. Do your examples confirm Aristotle’s view that a virtue is a mean between extremes of excess and defect? If so, explain what those extremes are; if not, explain why. Refer to this week’s readings and media to illustrate and support your claims.
- MacIntyre, A. (1984). After virtue. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
- This article is found in the Chapter 6 Readings section in the Appendix of your primary text. This work was largely responsible for reviving interest in Aristotelian or virtue conceptions of ethics, and includes a powerful critique of modern moral philosophy and contemporary culture. Chapters 14 and 15 discuss the importance of the virtues for attaining certain goods internal to “practices,” and which are a core feature of a flourishing life, the importance of virtue for a “narrative unity” to one’s life, and the place that tradition has in our understanding of how to live well.
- This resource is an excellent overview of virtue ethics, including some of the major criticisms and how virtue ethicists have responded to them.
- Sandel, M. (2004, April 1). The case against perfection. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/2004/04/sandel.htm
- In this article, Michael Sandel tackles a major contemporary moral problem, the use of enhancements in various areas of life. Although he doesn’t explicitly call his approach “virtue ethics,” it is a clear and accessible example of Aristotelian reasoning applied to a concrete issue. This is a condensed version of a book that treats the subject in more detail, while remaining a clear and accessible work intended to bring philosophical ideas to popular audiences.
- Sandel, M. (2012, February 27). What isn’t for sale. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/04/what-isnt-for-sale/308902/
- In this article, Michael Sandel tackles a major contemporary moral problem, the moral limits of markets. Although he doesn’t explicitly call his approach “virtue ethics,” it is a clear and accessible example of Aristotelian reasoning applied to a concrete issue. This is a condensed version of a book that treats the subject in more detail, while remaining a clear and accessible work intended to bring philosophical ideas to popular audiences.
- Albert, T. (Producer), & Ramis, H. (Director). (1993). Groundhog day [Motion picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures.
- This classic comedy follows the life of a man who has to relive the same day over and over again. In this situation, he realizes that neither the “rules” nor the consequences of his actions matter anymore. Initially he finds this liberating, and enjoys himself, but that soon gives way to depression and despair. Eventually, though, he seems to find new reasons to be generous, helpful, caring, and so forth, as he develops what we might consider to be a virtuous character. Information on where to stream the film can be found here: http://www.canistream.it/search/movie/groundhog day.
- Annas, J. and Teichman, M. (2014, March 26). Episode 57: Julia Annas discusses virtue ethics [Podcast]. Elucidations. Retrieved from https://lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/elucidations/2014/03/26/episode-57-julia-annas-discusses-virtue-ethics/
- A leading classical philosophy scholar and virtue ethicist discusses virtue ethics in an informative and interesting interview. Transcript
- ForaTv. (2008). Michael Sandel on justice: A journey in moral reasoning [Video File]. Retrieved from http://fora.tv/2008/07/04/Michael_Sandel_Justice-Journey_in_Moral_Reasoninga#xhfQ37UcTmyzlPvm.99
- Michael Sandel discusses the Aristotelian conception of justice and its relevance to contemporary moral, political, and social problems.
Sadler, G. B. (2012, November 12). Philosophy core concepts: Aristotle, activities, arts, and purposes (Nichomachean Ethics bk. 1) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/_aFJPv5POcc?list=PL4gvlOxpKKIjwnfPgqLkLJ7cHXAqDHfBA
- This video is the first in a series of several lectures on Aristotle’s ethics.