the nature of virtue for Aristotle
Introduction to Ethics Final
Answer three (3) of the following questions in part 1. Your answers for part 1 should be constructed to
demonstrate some depth of knowledge and insight and generally should be between 2 and 3 typed double-spaced pages in length. Brief
answers of a single paragraph or page will not be detailed enough to allow you to do well. Each answer for part 1 is worth twelve (12)
points of your final grade and the essay for part 4 will be worth 34 points for the final grade.
Some hints on making sure of getting a decent grade: read each question carefully and respond directly and in a focused manner to exactly
what is being asked. Padding your answer will not help and in some circumstances may hurt your grade. Generally, it is best to address each
section of a multi-part question separately. Also choose questions so that there will be a minimum of repetition between answers. In
formulating your answers, determine which three questions you can give the most accurate and comprehensive for. If you can’t find the file sent
for any of the readings or for any of the handouts, please email me and I’ll email them back to you.
All completed finals are due by email by December 27. If you do not receive an emailed confirmation that I have received your exam make
sure to place a copy in my mailbox on January 2. My email address is: [email protected] . Make certain to put your email address and
telephone number on your paper.
Absolutely no violations of academic integrity will be tolerated. Any student who misrepresents the words or ideas of someone else, be
it a book, an internet source, or other material, will receive a zero for the exam. The excuse that one did not understand the standards
or that one inadvertently handed in a draft that was missing the references will not be accepted. It is every student’s responsibility to
go over his or her written paper very carefully to make certain that all needed references to external sources used are properly
included. Handing in any written work constitutes acceptance of this policy and any student who attempts to negotiate after being
caught will simply be handed back a copy of this policy.
The following shall constituted academic integrity violations: 1) a student copies a written passage verbatim or nearly
verbatim from any external source, including internet sites, magazines, journals, and books, and any other published or non-published
source without using quotation marks or indentation and without providing an explicit reference to the external passage in the text of
the paper. Copying a single sentence is enough for a violation to occur. 2) Using an idea or fact that is not common knowledge and that
is taken from an external source without providing a specific reference for that passage in the text of the paper. 3) Papers that are
largely taken from one or more external sources, even if these are cited, will be deemed unacceptable; the papers are to represent your
own thought about the topic, with research sources merely contributing to that thought. Note that it is not adequate to merely include a
Bibliography or Works Consulted section at the end of the paper; the reference must be tied to the specific passage that includes the
language or idea associated with the external text.
1) (a) What is the nature of virtue for Aristotle and how can his approach to ethics be contrasted to one based on rules and obligations. (b)
Discuss the roles of moral habituation (training) in Aristotle’s account of the development of a virtuous person. (c) Characterize Aristotle’s
doctrine of the mean and explain how it relates to views concerning the complexity of moral life and give a concrete example of the working of
the doctrine of the mean that was not discussed in class or in the readings. (Among the virtues you can consider are: courage, tolerance, pride,
generosity, humility, honesty, self-reliance, loyalty, independence, cooperativeness, diligence. . .) (Use Aristlotle on virtue reading, although the
MacIntyre reading will also help, for example in explaining habituation through the example of a child’s changing relationship to chess._
2) (a) What does MacIntyre mean by a practice and what is the relation of the notion of a practices to that of a virtue. (b) Why does MacIntyre
emphasize the social dimension of a practice? C. Describe in detail a practice that has not been discussed in class and is not contained in
MacIntyre’s essay. (See especially the definition of a practice contained in the MacIntyre reading.)
3) (a) State and explain the meaning of the second version of Kant’s categorical imperative. (b) what are the ethical implications of of this
imperative; [c] provide a somewhat detailed analysis of an ethically relevant problem or situation, different from those discussed in the
readings or in class, that can be illuminated through this imperative. (Kant provides the initial statement, and both the O’Neill and the Nagel
articles are explicitly, in the case of the former, or implicitly, in the case of the latter, based on this aspect of Kant’s ethical theory.
4) Rawls and Nozick provide differing interpretations of the nature of a just society. (a) Briefly state these conceptions and evaluate the merits
and demerits of each. (b) If a choice had to be made between living in a society that accepted one or the other which would you think would be
the more just one. Explain why, indicating exactly . (Rawls and Nozick readings)
5) (a) Do values exist in the same way that chairs, positive electrical charges, and other things or properties that we experience or learn about
through science exist. Explain in some detail. (b) If it is true that there are no objective values, discuss the implications of this? (For example,
does that mean that there is no reason for us not to be practical moral nihilists who have no reason to refrain from anything.) (Mackie is central
here, but Hobbes would also be relevant as might also be other theories of value we have studied (hedonism, preference realization, objective
6) (a) What is the distinction between communitarianism and individualism? (b) How do these theories differ in their conception of the self and
of the nature of society? [c] Which of these do you think provides the best basis for human happiness? (Remember, it was suggested in class
that there was a continuum between these orientations. Explain your answer to part c. (For communitarianism, the sociological account of Orsi
as well as the philosophical statement of Aristotle in the same file as the Orsi article are central but MacIntyre would also be useful; the clearest
statement of individualism we have considered is in Hobbes, though I have made frequent references to Gauthier.)
7) Of the ethical theories and approaches which we have studied, which seems to you to provide the best guidance for everyday moral life?
Discuss your reasons for making your selection. If you do not feel that any of the theories and approaches can play such a role, or feel that no
single one of them can, discuss your reasons for that contention