Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Study Guide
Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Study Guide

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Study Guide

Source: Open Book Publishers

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A study guide on introductory concepts in philosophy.

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics Study Guide

​Aristotelian Virtue Ethics is very different in nature to other act-centred normative moral theories. Whether this, in itself, is a virtue or a vice is an issue for your own judgment. The lack of a codified and fixed moral rule book is something many view as a flaw, while others perceive it as the key strength of the theory. Some, meanwhile, will feel uncomfortable with Aristotle’s teleological claims, differing from those who are happy to accept that there is an objectively good life that is possible for human beings. Regardless, there is little doubt that Aristotelian Virtue Ethics offers a distinct normative moral picture and that it is a theory worthy of your reflections.

Key Terminology

  • Act-centred
  • Agent-centred
  • Dispositions
  • Eudaimonia
  • Phronesis
  • Virtue
  • Telos
  • Golden mean

Who has the better life — the happy hedonist or the virtuous individual?


Are the virtues fixed and absolute? Or can virtues be relative to culture and time?


Is becoming moral a skill? Is morality based on “knowing that” or “knowing how”?


Can Virtue Ethics offer useful guidance?


Is the Golden Mean a useful way of working out virtuous characteristics?


Are some virtues more important than others? Why?


Can you think of a virtue that does not contribute to eudaimonia?


Can you think of something that contributes to eudaimonia that is not a virtue?


If there is no purpose to life, is there any point in subscribing to Aristotelian Virtue Ethics?


What should you do if virtues seem to clash when faced with different possible actions?


Who might count as virtuous role models and why?


Do human beings have a telos or proper function?

​© 2017 Mark Dimmock and Andrew Fisher

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