Was Aristotle right in thinking virtues were relative?
Aristotle at the age of 17 was sent to the intellectual capital of the Greek world, Athens and there joined the Academy and studied under Plato. He then later in life set up the Lyceum school and taught there. He argues that whenever we do something, we do it to gain an end, and that the ultimate ends of all ends is the chief good, the greatest good. He believed that actions are directed towards an aim, he uses the example that someone gets in the morning to go to work and they go to work because they want to earn a living and have a good career; they want earnings and a career success so that they can live life well. Aristotle was a relativist who didn’t believe in universal forms unlike his teacher Plato. He bought about a theory called the “Golden mean” were it says that humans should stay in-between two extremes, which is called “virtuous character”, where a human should show virtuous mean not excess or deficiency. An example used in his twelve moral virtues is courage, where the deficiency is cowardice and the excess of this virtue is rashness. Virtue theory is different to any other theory. Instead of looking at what the right thing to do is, it is principally concerned with the idea of the human character and it asks how you can be a better person. However, most theories concentrate on defining principle by which we should act. Virtue theory is about defining good people and the qualities that make them good. Virtue theory is opposite to the utilitarianism approach, it puts the right character before the right behaviour, we should be much less concerned with actions and consequences, and much more concerned with the character of the moral agent. Relativism is the view that there are no moral absolutes, so that our moral judgements relate to upbringing and society. Philosophers have sought to justify relativism culturally. Cultural relativism explains that moral virtues vary between societies....
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