Discussion 1: Virtue and Teleology
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Please read the general discussion requirements above, as well as the announcements explaining the discussion requirements and answering the most frequently asked questions. If you are still unsure about how to proceed with the discussion, please reply to one of those announcements or contact your instructor.
Please carefully read and think about the entire prompt before composing your first post. This discussion will require you to have carefully read Chapter 5 of the textbook, as well as the assigned portions of Aristotle’s (1931) Nicomachean Ethics.
Aristotle’s account of ethics is “teleological”, which means that our understanding of virtue and living well is based on a sense of the “telos” (function, purpose, or end) of something (see Aristotle’s text and the textbook for the full account).
- Engage with the text:
Using at least one quote from the required text(s), explain the relation between virtue and living well on Aristotle’s account, and briefly describe some of the key characteristics of the virtues.
- Reflect on yourself:
Identify an area of your life in which virtues are needed to do well. Explain what the “telos” of that role or activity is, what virtues are needed and why they are needed, and what would be lost if someone tried to be successful in that activity who didn’t exercise the virtues. This might be a role you have, a vocation or career, a hobby, or something common to all of us.
- Reflect on virtue:
In what ways do the virtues you identify display the characteristics Aristotle describes? For instance, you could explain whether they occupy an intermediate between too much and too little of some quality, how they would affect one’s emotions as well as ones actions, etc.
- Discuss with your peers:
Discuss with your peers the answers they gave to these questions, and offer your own additional reflections, questions, challenges, etc. You could consider possible ways in which the virtues may conflict with each other, or may conflict with the virtues needed in other areas of one’s life; whether practicing virtue in these activities may lead to less success as measured by, say, financial benefit or recognition; and so on.
Aristotle. (1931). Nicomachean ethics (Links to an external site.) (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/nicomachaen.html
Thames, B. (2018). How should one live? Introduction to ethics and moral reasoning (3rd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.