3 How would a virtue theorist deal with abortion? Learning objectiveto consider the virtues in practice: the sala dei NoveKey wordsMoral dilemmaMoral agentConflicting virtuesKey questionHow would a virtue theorist deal with abortion?
4 activities These images are a representation of the virtues. Look at the three images.Can you identify any virtues?Can you see any vices?The scene is a depiction of good and bad government and how they operate on a city.What do you think is the effect of the vices which are represented in bad government?What do you think is the effect of the virtues which are represented in good government?
8 The frescoA powerful example of the virtues in operation can be seen from Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s allegory of good and bad government, in the Sala dei Nove in the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena, painted between 1337 and 1339.The fresco was painted across all four walls of the hall of the Council of Nine, the city’s administrators.The Nine were chosen every two months to ensure the good of the city.
9 The frescoThe example is important as while it draws on the Christian idea of virtue, it is a secular expression of virtue.The city of Siena at this time was governed by secular authorities distinct from the Church, so it reflects an idea which might be relevant to secular ethical thinking in the modern world.
10 The place The Palazzo Pubblico in Sienna is notable for: its great campo (square) and tower which stands separate and equal to the dome and tower of Sienna’s Cathedral,an illustration of the separation of the Church and Civic authorityand the location of the centre of the city- state.
11 The fresco The fresco cycle covers three walls of the council chamber. The fourth wall has a window which lights the opposite wall on which is the Allegory of good government.To one side of this are illustrates the effects of good government in town and countryside, and on the other is an illustration of Bad Government and its effects in the urban and rural contexts.
12 The purposeThe frescos are arranged to show the contrast between the happiness, wellbeing and order of life under good government and the darkness, chaos and suffering brought about by bad government.In the former, people are productive in business, there is dancing in the streets and a wedding.The different trades are able to go about their activity including a shoemaker, a teacher, a goldsmith and wine and meet sellers, and in the great city, building is under way.
13 The purposein the country the fields are cultivated, farmed and manicured with seeds being sown, wines growing, and peasants and travellers going about their business safely.The produce of the country is bought into the city illustrating that rural and urban life is in harmonious balance, and the figure of security flies overhead.There is an openness about the city in terms of the diversity within and the accessibility to it from the country.
14 The vicesOn the opposite wall the effect of bad government are bleakly laid out.Discord and war are rife and there are examples of violence, murder, robbery and betrayal.The city has been heavily damaged, and beyond, in the country, the land is uncultivated, laid waste.Smoke rises from several places and the city seems turned in upon itself, cut off from the desolate countryside around it.
15 The vicesBoth scenes have a corresponding government which is depicted through figures of the virtues and vices and some scenes of governance.It the Bad Government, Tyranny presides.Above him fly Pride, Avarice and Vainglory; on either side sit Cruelty, Treason, Fraud, Furor, Division and War.Beneath, Justice is impotent, bound and defeated.The cords of the scales of Justice are broken.Above the country, the harp of fear flies.Around the fresco are various texts with sign messages for the images.
16 Avarice Vainglory Cruelty Pride Treason Fraud Division War Furore This government will have an overly high view of its own importance and conduct.AvariceThis government will have have an insatiable greed for riches or the desire to gain.VaingloryThis government will have excessive elation or pride over one’s own achievements, abilities, boastful vanity.CrueltyThis government will have cruel punishments or torture.TreasonThis government will disrespect the sovereignty of the state. There may also be coopsFraudThis type of government will be deceitful and breach the confidence of its peopleFuroreThis government will be mad, manic and crazed in its decision making.DivisionThis type of government will be divided. There will be no continuity between departments or peopleWarThis type of government will relish war and actively seek it.
17 The vicesBecause each seeks only his own good in this city Justice is subjected to Tyranny’‘where there is tyranny there is great fear’ and ‘where Justice is bound, no one is ever in accord for the common Good, nor pulls the cord (civic concord) , straight (with force and full commitment).In this city – there is no expression of virtue, only vice. This is negative for society.
18 The citizens controlIt is the duty of the citizens to keep citizens subject to Justice, to banish those who threaten it and to overthrow tyrants.Responsibility for the common good lies with every citizen, not merely the ruling order or class.Shows the importance of democracy – government for the people, by the people
19 The virtues the sunlit end of the hall offers a different vision. The court of the Good Government has two central figures.Highest seated to the right is the Common Good, with Faith, Charity and Hope flying above.Seated either side we see Peace, Fortitude, Prudence, Magnanimity, Temperance and Justice.
20 A government must have moderation or self-restraint in action. Faiththis is a Christian virtue but can be taken in a secular way as trust in the people or the government to be goodCharityA government should be generous and give to the poor and people in need.HopeA government should have a positive attitude towards the future for its people.PeaceA government should be peaceful with other nations and not seeking war unnecessarilyFortitudeA government must have strength in adversity and be able to deal with struggle well.PrudenceA government must have common sense. it must take care for the future and safeguard its peopleMagnanimityA government must be generous in forgiving an insult or injury, free from resentment or vindictivenessTemperanceA government must have moderation or self-restraint in action.JusticeA government must treat its people fairly, with righteousness and must be centred on lawfulness
21 The virtuesTo the left Justice is depicted again with Wisdom flying above.The virtues metes out Commutative and Distributive justice.Beneath sits Concord and to the right stand 24 Councillors holding the rope of concord. Texts beneath read,‘This holy Virtue (Justice), where she rules, induces unity to the many souls (of citizens), and they, gathered together for such a purpose, make the Common Good their Lord.Starn 1994
22 The virtuesThe virtues are virtues not just for those in government, but every citizen. Dire consequences follow if people’s hearts are governed by vices rather than virtues.The rule of Justice and the priority of the common good and the other virtues allow people of all trades and business to go about pursuing their separate interests.Good and bad government fundamentally and directly affect the quality of human lives.
23 The virtuesWhether we are well or badly governed makes a difference to our lives.We can choose whether our hearts and cities are governed by virtues or vices.The virtues and vices can been seen clearly from the effects and from the principles underpinning those effects.The fresco cycle is instructive for citizens and rulers to achieve well-being in life and it is an example of how virtue thinking was understood in Sienna at that time.