Each discussion should be at least 300 words with citations.
This week, our focus is on virtue ethics. Both of our prompts this week will take this up. The first one is primarily concerned with Aristotle’s virtue ethics. I think it gets to the heart of the rather elevated vision of human happiness as flourishing. Here is the prompt:
Aristotle says that the virtues are necessary for humans to attain happiness, but he means this in terms of something we might call “flourishing” or “living well”, which he considers quite different than simply feeling good. Thus, according to Aristotle some people might feel that they are happy, but because they lack the virtues they are not truly flourishing. However, imagine someone that is deceitful, selfish, greedy, self-indulgent, and yet enjoys great pleasure and appears to be quite happy. Is someone like this “flourishing” or not? Explain your answer this by referring to this week’s readings and media, and if possible provide examples from real life and/or from literature, film, TV, etc.
Identify an area of life that has an impact on the environment (including non-human animals), and explain how the possession or lack of virtue may make a difference to how one conducts oneself within that practice with respect to that environmental impact. In other words, when it comes to our relation to the environment, what attitudes and behaviors would be characteristic of a virtuous person, and what attitudes and behaviors may be characteristic of a person who lacks the virtues? How can those who do not have the virtues develop those virtues so that they can reliably act and feel in appropriate fashion with respect to this issue? Be sure to be as specific as possible in your analysis, and support your analysis with evidence from the week’s readings and media, including Hill’s article, “Ideals of Human Excellence and Preserving Natural Environments.”
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