Human beings have a function
Performing that function well (with virtue)
is happiness
Happiness is an activity of the soul in
accord with virtue
Practical virtues are habits
The virtues are the mean between
Aristotle focuses on the question of what
makes a good person.
Actions are going be good or right if they
are the actions that a good or virtuous
person does
A virtuous person is inclined to act
virtuously. They want to act in accord with
the mean
The only thing good in an unqualifed way
is a good will
Virtues are not good in an unqualified way
because they can be used for bad
purposes, e.g. the cool calculating villain.
Acting from duty vs. acting in
accord with duty
An action is in accord with duty if it is the
right thing to do.
An action is done from duty if it is done
because it is the right thing to do
Actions done from inclination are not done
from duty
Categorical imperative
Hypothetical imperatives are conditional:
Example: stop smoking because you want
to avoid cancer
Categorical imperatives are not
Moral duties are those actions that are in
keeping with the categorical imperative.
The principle of universalizability
An action will be the right thing to do if you
can (1) conceive of everyone acting the
way you are acting and (2) will that
everyone act in the same way as you do.
Examples: pp. 53-54
Second formulation of the
categorical imperative
Treat other people not merely as a means,
but also as an end.
We always use other people, but Kant
thinks its wrong to treat other people just
as instruments, as things to be used for
other purposes.
Kant and Aristotle
Kant takes as fundamental the notion of duty—
the right action done from a respect for the moral
law. A good person will be one who acts this way
(from duty)
Aristotle thinks a good person will do the right
thing from inclination. They will want to be
virtuous. For Aristotle what is fundamental is
what makes a person virtuous, not what makes
a particular action right