500 words each


Assignment 1


Aristotle says that the virtues are necessary for humans to attain happiness, but he means this in terms of something we might call “flourishing” or “living well”, which he considers quite different than simply feeling good.  Thus, according to Aristotle some people might feel that they are happy, but because they lack the virtues they are not truly flourishing.  However, imagine someone that is deceitful, selfish, greedy, self-indulgent, and yet enjoys great pleasure and appears to be quite happy.  Is someone like this “flourishing” or not?

Explain your answer this by referring to this week’s readings and media, and if possible provide examples from real life and/or from literature, film, television, etc. 


























Assignment 2


An important aspect of Aristotle’s virtue ethics is the idea that virtues are “habits” that we acquire over time, and like any habit, virtues affect not just what we do, but our desires and emotions as well.  Focusing on either Hill’s article or Robinson’s article, how might this be important when discussing environmental ethics or military ethics (focus your discussion on just one of those, but feel free to discuss the other in reply to other people’s posts)?

  Taking on the position of a virtue ethics for yourself, how might you reply to someone who says that they wish they could do more to express concern for the environment or be more courageous, but are too “weak willed” to do that, or not "that kind of person"? 

Use examples from the assigned media when appropriate. 




















Annas, J. (2011). Intelligent virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  • Annas provides an account of virtue that draws upon an analogy with practical skills. She maintains that the kind of reasoning we find in someone exercising a practical skill can helpfully illuminate the kind of reasoning involved in exercising a virtue, especially the way that there can be rational and intelligent reasoning without presupposing a need for rules or principles of the kind we find in other moral theories.


·  MacIntyre, A. (1999). Dependent rational animals: Why human beings need the virtues. Chicago, IL: Open Court.


  • In his third follow-up to After Virtue,MacIntyre provides his most straightforward account of the basis and form of the ethical life. Instead of beginning from the notion of the full-fledged, independent rational agent as most other theories do (including Aristotle’s), he begins from the facts of human vulnerability and dependence and proceeds to argue for certain virtues and behaviors that respond to this human condition. Includes a fascinating discussion of dolphins as exhibiting a kind of proto-rationality.




·  Sandler, R. (2007). Character and environment: A virtue-oriented approach to environmental ethics [Electronic version]. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Retrieved from http://www.ebrary.com/corp/


  • The full-text version of this article can be accessed through the ebrary database in the Ashford University Library.


Albert, T. (Producer), & Ramis, H. (Director). (1993). Groundhog day [Motion picture]. United States: Columbia Pictures.


  • This classic comedy follows the life of a man who has to relive the same day over and over again. In this situation, he realizes that neither the "rules" nor the consequences of his actions matter anymore. Initially he finds this liberating, and enjoys himself, but that soon gives way to depression and despair. Eventually, though, he seems to find new reasons to be generous, helpful, caring, and so forth, as he develops what we might consider to be a virtuous character. Information on where to stream the film can be found here: http://www.canistream.it/search/movie/groundhog day.




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