PHI208: Ethics and Moral Reasoning – Wk4 Discussion

Hello class, please select ONE of the six options below.

1.      1.Is it possible for individuals to flourish if others with whom they are connected are not also flourishing?  Consider this with respect to Aristotle’s account of eudaimonia, as well as the other readings and media.  Identify a community or practice in which you are involved in which the flourishing of the individual is tied to the flourishing of others.  Does this require that we limit certain rights pertaining to the individual (for instance, the right to free speech or to pursue monetary gain), in order to promote the flourishing of the group within that context?  Be specific, and use examples when appropriate. 


2.      2. What does it mean to be a virtuous soldier?  Identify three virtues that a soldier needs in order to be an excellent soldier and then explain why.  Create a scenario that a soldier might face during war or some other stressful event, and explain what the virtuous soldier would do in the situation, and which specific virtues the soldier would demonstrate.   Refer to the readings and media, including Robinson’s article, “Magnanimity and Integrity as Military Virtues,” where appropriate.


3.      3. Aristotle claims that virtuous action is done “with knowledge” (Bk II, chapter 4), which is usually taken to mean that the virtuous person has an understanding of why what they are doing is good, as opposed to doing the good thing but not really understanding what makes it good, or simply doing the good thing out of custom or because that’s what one was told to do.  Is Aristotle right to put this condition on virtuous behavior?  Is there a difference between someone who does the right thing with knowledge, and someone who does it out of custom or habit or because that’s what they were told to do?  How would this idea apply to soldiers in the military (for instance, who have to follow orders), or to people’s relation to the environment (where certain “environmentalist” causes might be “trendy”, for example)?   Think of questions that might challenge or deepen the answers given by your peers. 
Be sure to reference either Hill or Robinson, as well as Aristotle, in addressing the prompt. 

4.      4.Think back to the week 2 discussion of animal ethics.  Is it possible to be a virtuous farmer, or some other role that involves relating to animals?  What’s the function or purpose of farming animals, and what would be the characteristics of flourishing in this area?  How does the well-being of animals fit into this picture?  What virtues would a farmer need to do this well?  How does this differ from the way that industrial farms are operated?  Be sure to make reference to the appropriate readings, and look at some of the recommended resources from week 2 for examples of an Aristotelian approach to agriculture.   When responding to peers, consider the kinds of questions that might be asked from the point of view of Singer and Regan, and pose them as challenges for your peers to think about. 

5.      5.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”.


6.      6. Find examples from literature or media sources, or from current or past history, that demonstrate both success and failure at demonstrating a virtue.  In each case, what is the virtue that was demonstrated / lacking?  How did their actions display or fail to display that virtue, and in the case of the failure, what would the virtuous person have done instead?  Be sure to share the links with your classmates so they can read the full articles or watch the videos.  Don’t use examples that others have used before you.  First come, first served.

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