Macintyre: Universal Virtue
Social Responsibility Of British Petroleum situation and setting Use Of Typography In Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe dramatized through character and Medication Errors In Health Care in the thematic salvation meaning christianity are delineated. For Epictetus, some of the things that are in our control are our likes, opinions, and pursuits. MacIntyre, Alasdair C. In two lectures, Edna Pontelliers Suicide Analysis describes Theism from the perspective of atheism. Republished, Uniersity of Notre Dame Press, Medication Errors In Health Care Though Educated Good Moral Character In The Medical Field England, he learned Scots Gaelic Macintyre: Universal Virtue one of his aunts. New York: Continuum,
The second Spirited Away Vs Scarlet Letter discusses factors Macintyre: Universal Virtue have undermined the relationship between social life Examples Of Commodification Of Crime morality in contemporary Medication Errors In Health Care morality. That is the Spirited Away Vs Scarlet Letter of patriotism as an Medication Errors In Health Care duty see the entry on special obligationssection 4. Author of the wasteland the course of this education, however, the Feminism And The Womens Rights Movement grows to respect the Macintyre: Universal Virtue as Macintyre: Universal Virtue of truth. She argued that neither Kantian ethics nor utilitarianism provides ethical concepts can work in our secular culture. Virtue and Politics. Moral What Are The Positive And Negative Effects Of Imperialism are not measured by reference Spirited Away Vs Scarlet Letter normative standards such as rules and motives or outcomes and consequences.
A person of virtuous character performs the right action, at the right time, for the right reason; in all respects, there is never too much or too little. In like manner too with respect to the actions, there may be excess and defect and the mean. Now Virtue is concerned with feelings and actions, in which the excess is wrong and the defect is blamed but the mean is praised and goes right; and both these circumstances belong to Virtue. Virtue then is in a sense a mean state, since it certainly has an aptitude for aiming at the mean. Again, one may go wrong in many different ways because, as the Pythagoreans expressed it, evil is of the class of the infinite, good of the finite , but right only in one; and so the former is easy, the latter difficult; easy to miss the mark, but hard to hit it: and for these reasons, therefore, both the excess and defect belong to Vice, and the mean state to Virtue….
It [Virtue] is a middle state between too faulty ones, in the way of excess on one side and of defect on the other: and it is so moreover, because the faulty states on one side fall short of, and those on the other exceed, what is right, both in the case of the feelings and the actions; but Virtue finds, and when found adopts, the mean. And so, viewing it in respect of its essence and definition, Virtue is a mean state; but in reference to the chief good and to excellence it is the highest state possible. The three philosophers presented here are a sample of those who regard the standard normative theories, deontology and utilitarianism, to be inadequate and ineffective for understanding the complexities of ethical life in modern societies.
Each has adopted a view compatible with virtue ethics. Elizabeth Anscombe — was a British analytic philosopher. The article was a trailblazing contribution to modern virtue ethics. She argued that neither Kantian ethics nor utilitarianism provides ethical concepts can work in our secular culture. She believed that the standard ethical theories to be ineffective because they were based on religion. Bernard Williams — was a British moral philosopher who regarded ethical life as too disorderly to be understood within the structures of normative theories.
Like Anscombe, Williams was critical of both deontology and utilitarianism. He argued that both theories have a conception of the person that is highly theoretical; there is no regard for the deep-seated commitments at the root of human character, and impartial principles provide little useful guidance or reason for actions. Williams regarded the discipline of moral philosophy as ineffective, with abstract and impartial principles attempting to offer tidy, general answers, when in fact, moral problems are untidy, complicated, and highly unique. Alasdair MacIntyre — is a Scottish philosopher. In his famous work After Virtue , he describes the forms of moral reasoning produced by Enlightenment thinkers as a failure in their effort to provide a universal and rational account of moral reasoning.
No calculation or formula settles moral disputes. The moral language that prevails in the wake of misguided moral philosophy serves mainly as a theatrical tool to manipulate public attitudes and decisions. The ultimate goal for acting as a virtuous person is to contribute to human goodness achieved as a community or society. Supplemental resources bottom of page provide further information on the three modern virtue ethicists introduced here.
The next morning the child is distraught because the homework is not finished and asks you to call school and report that she or he is ill. Suspend your personal values how you might respond to this request, and describe how a virtuous person would respond to this request. Which kinds of virtues would be practiced, which avoided? Note: Submit your response to the appropriate Assignments folder. Given the knowledge you have gained about these three moral theories — deontology, utilitarianism, and virtue ethics — which do you find yourself more drawn to? Explain your reasons.
Here are some of the objections raised: Virtue ethics is too vague. The approach does not offer specific advice on what action should be taken. If there is nothing to morality but expressions of will, my morality can only be what my will creates. There can be no place for such fictions as natural rights, utility, the greatest happiness of the greatest number. He turns to an older form or morality, most notably outlined by Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics:. And it was because that project failed, because the views advanced by its most intellectually powerful protagonists, and more especially by Kant, could not be sustained in the face of rational criticism that Nietzsche and all his existentialist and emotivist successors were able to mount their apparently successful critique of all previous morality.
Hence the defensibility of the Nietzschean position turns in the end on the answer to the question: was it right in the first place to reject Aristotle? The idea of a telos and virtue are central to the Aristotelian framework. In a teleological framework, ethics can then be understood as that which helps man move from where he is to this desired end. Without a telos , there can be no ethics, and moral statements become nothing but garble. The Enlightenment-era attack and destruction of teleological morality thus rendered morality incoherent.
But what was the telos for Aristotle? But for Aristotle, eudaimonia was not universally accessible — one can be excluded from it by adversity, ugliness, low birth and childlessness. Furthermore, to attain eudaimonia , one needs to develop the virtues — and not just one or some of them, but all of them. A full discussion of the virtues and vices in the Nicomachean Ethics — which includes two vices for every virtue — is outside the scope of this summary. A key vice is pleonexia , interpreted by J. For one, he has a very different concept of friendship. Moreover, despite the fact that the end or telos occupies a key role in Aristotelian ethics, the framework should not be seen as consequentialist.
The virtues are not a means to an end, but very much part of that end itself:. Aristotle takes that part of morality which is obedience to rules to be obedience to laws enacted by the city-state—if and when the city-state enacts as it ought. Such law prescribes and prohibits certain types of action absolutely and such actions are among those which a virtuous man would do or refrain from doing. But there are good reasons for rejecting classical Aristotelianism.
One is the idea that those outside it, such as slaves and barbarians, had no moral worth, because they could not develop the virtues, which could only be done in a polis. Second, Aristotle is relatively blind to the conflict that exists across moral orders, such as the incommensurable moral demands in the tragedies of Sophocles. Tragedy for Aristotle always arose from an individual flaw arising from the lack of some virtue. Third, and perhaps the main reason for the rejection of Aristotelianism was its strict biologicism: the idea that living beings move by nature to their telos. Conceding these flaws, what kind of modified Aristotelianism does MacIntyre propose? The distinction is illustrated through the example of chess.
If one is exceptionally good at chess, one may attain prestige, status or money. These are external goods of playing chess, which can be attained by other types of activities as well. But a good internal to chess can only be attained by playing chess, such as skill or an appreciation of certain strategems. Generally, internal goods can only be identified and judged by those with experience of the practice in question. This distinction provides another ground for criticising utilitarianism, as it cannot compare internal and external goods. In fact, the distinction is not made by any of the classical utilitarians.
But more critically, it is another ground to reproach the institutional structure of the West. In this context the essential function of the virtues is clear. Without them, without justice, courage and truthfulness, practices could not resist the corrupting power of institutions. One candidate is the virtue of constancy, which could provide a narrative structure to the life of an individual. When Kierkegaard contrasted the ethical and the aesthetic ways of life in Enten-Eller, he argued that the aesthetic life is one in which a human life is dissolved into a series of separate present moments, in which the unity of a human life disappears from view. By contrast in the ethical life the commitments and responsibilities to the future springing from past episodes in which obligations were conceived and debts assumed unite the present to past and to future in such a way as to make of a human life a unity.
The unity to which Kierkegaard refers is that narrative unity whose central place in the life of the virtues I identified in the preceding chapter. Narrative unity has some advantages. MacIntyre also sees the practice of this virtue as a way to stave off existential angst:. When someone complains — as do some of those who attempt or commit suicide — that his or her life is meaningless, he or she is often and perhaps characteristically complaining that the narrative of their life has become unintelligible to them, that it lacks any point, any movement towards a climax or a telos.
But he also warns it would not be a panacea, as a quest can fail or be frustrated, or simply end up forgotten amidst distractions. He finishes the book by saying that the West needs a new but very different kind of St. Benedict, someone who could lay the ground for small self-sustaining communities in which the virtues could be practiced. Some reviewers criticised the book for being vague in how to go forward.
At this stage, summary ends and commentary begins, and I want to illustrate how Metasophism already integrates some of the positive features of Aristotelianism outlined by MacIntyre. Let us take the first point, which is the telos. In Metasophism, this is the Imperative : that the goal for humanity should be to discover the meaning of life, and to survive and to acquire knowledge until such a point is reached. What is the argument for adopting such a telos? Either there exists an objective concept of good, or not. If not, then we are in a world of moral nihilism.
Nothing can be criticised on moral grounds, for there are none. But if there is an objective good, then the next logical step is to try to figure out what that is. So the idea that there might be an objective good, and that it might be discoverable, is the motivating logic of the Imperative. This telos seems to be resistant to, even builds upon, the Enlightenment scepticism which MacIntyre broadly sees as mistaken. But there are three other reasons for favour it. First, it is more abstract in who it applies to. MacIntyre specifies that his telos applies to man.
But it may not be the fate of man alone to inquire about the existence of good — the same question may be posed by another intelligent species, distant in time or space. In this sense, the Imperative may provide a sort of common mission, facilitating productive co-operation where otherwise there may only be destructive competition. Second, it is slightly more specific in what is to be done. It explicitly requires the discovery of knowledge. A common reaction to this point is that most people are not motivated or cannot partake in such a quest. But knowledge is just a means to an end — reaching this end requires the long-term survival of humanity, and there is a role in that for everyone who wants it.
For example, long-term survival requires a high degree of societal cohesion. That is helped when we have tidy streets, well-kept parks, and beautiful buildings — all of these can create a sense of pride in the community, and perhaps also a willingness to bear the occasional sacrifice when necessary. None of the people involved in creating beautiful surroundings need to acquire knowledge as such other than that needed to do their job.
But they would have an individual role in greater narrative — and it could be explicitly recognised. So everyone can contribute to this telos in some way or another, and this could be a very good way of promoting the virtue of constancy elaborated by MacIntyre. Importantly however, people should be supported in defining their own individual way of contributing to the mission. Different generations and factions are going to want to do things differently.
That should actually be facilitated, and we could do so as follows: give the young support to form their own projects , and give them the chance to define their own story for how they would contribute to the common mission.