Virtue Ethics

Discussion 2: The purpose of this discussion forum is for you to: Use basic philosophical vocabulary, major arguments, and positions in philosophical ethics (Objective 2.2), and Present arguments for ethical positions (Objective 4.2). For this discussion forum, I have several questions about virtue ethics. First, I’m wondering if you think virtue is the right way to think about ethics. It seems like virtue requires moral excellence. But is excellence what is really necessary or should we just strive not to be actively harmful? Additionally, given the different circumstances and abilities that people have, should we expect everyone to live up to the same standards of moral excellence? In a somewhat related sense, I wonder if virtue ethics can be applied universally. What counts as morally excellent characteristics in one culture is probably different than other cultures. By contrast, it seems like ethics ought to apply across cultures. Finally, what do you make of the critique made by “situationism,” namely, that moral character matters much less for determining actions than specific features of the situation. If people are primed with policies, culture, or other influences, will they abandon what their “moral character” would otherwise do? What do you think of virtue ethics and the idea of moral character as the way to explain ethical actions and ethical evaluation? Discussion 4: Deontology and Consequentialism The goal is for you to compare to prominent modern ethical theories in terms of their key claims and characteristics. You will discuss similarities, differences, strengths, and weaknesses. And then you will apply these different ethical positions to contemporary moral problems and various aspects of life. Task: You will write a short narrative that responds to the following prompts: Explain the core characteristics of deontology and consequentialism. Define these terms and give some examples of ethical theories studied in this course that demonstrate each of these two groups of moral theory. Compare and contrast these two types of ethical theory. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of each each type of moral theory. Apply these moral theories to a concrete example in contemporary ethics or personal life. The narrative should be no longer than 500 words. It should be largely factual and objective. You should not identify your favorite moral theory. Instead, you should objectively assess the two moral theories by comparing, contrasting, and applying those moral theories to situations. Evaluation criteria:

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Use philosophical terminology correctly and discuss these types of moral theory in a way that demonstrates knowledge of these theories. Compare and contrast the relative characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses of each moral theory. The best submissions will demonstrate understanding of the key characteristics of these theories with a critical eye to their strengths and weaknesses. Apply the moral theories to relevant contemporary examples. The best submissions will pick examples that highlight the similarities and differences between the moral theories.

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