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Relativism, Socrates & Plato, Aristotle's Virtue Ethics, Aristotle II - Essay Example

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Relativism, Socrates & Plato, Aristotle's Virtue Ethics, Aristotle II

While the former deals only on the “what is”, the latter is concerned about “what ought to be”. As such, descriptive ethics looks into the morality of a person in particular or an entire society in general based on the actual conduct and behavior of the people under observation while normative ethics insist that human conduct and behavior must be measured against a universal set of prescribed moral norms which civilizations must follow and comply with. The third level of ethics is metaethics which is a study of the meaning behind ethical language and theories. It not only analyses and compares different moral standards; it also examines the significance and purpose of the ideas and concepts of ethics itself (Lutz 8). Moreover, these ethical theories may be differentiated from one another by looking into how they adopt the theory of relativism. On the one hand, normative ethics acknowledges that certain situations do arise which necessitate deviation from the prescribed norms and thus require some degree of tolerance. On a case-to-case basis, a specific action is determined whether it is right or wrong by taking into consideration the specific circumstances which caused the deviation or non-compliance with the universal moral norms. On the other hand, relativism in metaethics takes into consideration the fact that people and societies come from different race, culture and set of common beliefs. Some degree of tolerance is given to the idiosyncrasies of cultures that are different from one’s own. As such, there is no absolute moral standard of right and wrong, rather, human conduct is measured against the prescribed norms of a given culture or group to which he belongs. 3.) Aristotle argues that ethics is the science of achieving happiness. What is his argument for this? What is happiness for Aristotle? And why doesn’t he think it is identical to pleasure? Explain the function argument and how it connects rationality with happiness. What role do the virtues play in this argument? Aristotle argues that ethics is the science of achieving happiness because in order to be happy, a person must first conduct himself properly and attain his goals in life. For Aristotle, happiness is the ultimate goal of every person and the core motivation and driving force for all of our actions. Happiness is where all actions end and one will never stop until it is achieved. A person’s behavior and action can be likened to a pyramid which has a wide base of different goals for different needs. Then, as each goal is achieved, one moves forward and upward to another goal which brings him closer to the top where all other goals converge and end at point happiness. No matter how many or hard the obstacles and circumstances are, a person is motivated to move forward by the prospect of reaching to the top. Lest happiness be confused with mere pleasure, Aristotle expressly clarified that there is a world of difference between happiness and pleasure, the latter being a mere emotion felt by a person when an intermediary goal is achieved. Throughout his journey to the apex of the pyramid, a person may feel pleasure as each specific goal brings him closer to his ultimate goal. Finally, according to Aristotle’s function argument, the function of man is to achieve rationality through different activities which call for the use of the human mental faculties. Human rationality is what separates us from plants and animals; we do not just exist in this world, we ...Show more


HUP 104 Exam 1 (Ethics and Moral Issues) 1.) Explain the distinction between descriptive ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics. Illustrate these distinctions by discussing the difference between relativism at the normative and metaethical level (be sure to discuss the role that tolerance plays)…
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Relativism, Socrates & Plato, Aristotles Virtue Ethics, Aristotle II essay example
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