What is meant by calling virtue an intermediate state or mean? How is virtue to be acquired?

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Topics & Prompts

Compare and contrast Aretaic ethics (virtue ethics) to the ethics of morality and religion by considering some of the prompts below.

  • Virtue Ethics
    • List and discuss some of the key ideas in Aristotle’s view of ethics.
    • Is it innate or acquired? Explain.
    • Explain the following: The Good, Happiness, Completeness, and Human function.
    • What is the difference in approach between the theoretical (thought) & practical approach (character) to ethics.
    • What is meant by calling virtue an intermediate state or mean? How is virtue to be acquired?
    • What then is a vice?
    • What is the genus in a virtue of character?
    • What does it mean to say that virtue seeks the mean relative to us?
    • Bernard Mayo argues that the quality of character keeps morality focused on the agent, while a morality of principles tends to focus on specific actions being right or wrong. Frankena argues that a morality of duty (principles) and a morality based on character (virtue traits) are complementary. However, says Frankena, ‘character traits or dispositions that lack principles are blind.’ Explain & discuss
    • Alasdair MacIntyre grounds morality in virtue. “Virtues are dispositions to act and feel in particular ways.” Like Mayo, MacIntyre places an emphasis on historical exemplars over principles or rules. The selection from his major work “After Virtue” discusses several examples where diverse core virtues historically served as the fundamental ground of morality. Compare and discuss some of these historical exemplars from Aristotle, Aquinas, Homer, Benjamin Franklin, Jane Austin, and the New Testament. In what ways do they serve to corroborate Aristotle position on virtue ethics and morality?
  • Morality & Religion
    • Does morality lack justification without God? If not, what provides a justification for the alternative?
    • Is Ethics an autonomous study? If so, is God subject to the same moral order?
    • What is the Divine Command Theory. Discuss some of the problems and their implications for the Euthyphro dilemma.
    • What is the autonomy thesis? What are some its implications for morality?
    • List and discuss some of the reasons that Bertrand Russell gives for arguing that morality does not need God or an afterlife.
    • What supportive reasons does James Rachel give for arguing that morality is inconsistent with theism and our belief in God?
    • List and critically discuss some of reasons given by C. Stephen Layman’s moral arguments for the existence of God.
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