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Shawna Hartman Elisabeth Herman Lisa Zimmer Tuesday 5:30 Ethical Theories Presentation 10/27/09.

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Presentation on theme: "Shawna Hartman Elisabeth Herman Lisa Zimmer Tuesday 5:30 Ethical Theories Presentation 10/27/09."— Presentation transcript:

1 Shawna Hartman Elisabeth Herman Lisa Zimmer Tuesday 5:30 Ethical Theories Presentation 10/27/09

2 What are Virtues? Character traits/Attitudes There are many different kinds of Virtues. Virtues can be balanced.

3 What is Virtue Ethics? Virtue theory assumes we have an ideal humanity. Virtues are those strengths of character that enable us to flourish. Virtue theorists also emphasize the need to break bad habits.

4 Aristotle Western theory of virtue comes from Aristotle ( BCE) He created the platform on which Western Virtue Theory is based.

5 Greek View of Virtue Rational Animals Essential Human Function Virtues of Temperance, prudence, courage, and justice.

6 Christianized Greek View St. Thomas Aquinas ( ) Aquinas borrowed and built on Aristotle's work. New focus Adds virtues of faith, hope and charity

7 Eastern Views of Virtue Buddhist/Taoist Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century BCE?) “Self” is an imagined entity. Main virtue traits are tranquility, nonattachment, compassion, truthful speech and thought

8 Tao Te Ching “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.”

9 Confucius BCE How he contributed to Confucian Virtue Theory

10 Confucian view of virtue Greatest virtue is humanity (aka humaneness, kindheartedness, or benevolence). This view focuses on Relationships. Harmony

11 Ethical Dilemma Death Penalty Does the death penalty deter violent crime?

12 Virtue Theory Application Considers morals, reputation, and motivation Death penalty from a Buddhist virtue perspective: Nonviolence Non-Attachment Compassion

13 Criticism #1 Different people, cultures, and societies often have different opinions on what constitutes a virtue. Virtue theories are too rigid and inflexible because they rely on one rule or principle.

14 Criticism #2 It lacks absolute moral rules which can give clear guidance on how to act in specific circumstances such as abortion. How can we be sure the models proposed are ideal unless we invoke moral rules to evaluate them?

15 Summary/Final Thoughts There are several different perspectives about Virtue Ethics. Virtue isn’t “out there,” or something unobtainable. “Moral Character is an ongoing project”

16 Review Questions 1. How might virtues play a role in your life? 2. Which viewpoint can you most relate to and why? Eastern? Western? 3. In your opinion, should we apply the virtue theory when considering the death penalty?


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