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HAPPINESS AND MORALITY - Term Paper Example

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Based on the points raised by virtue ethics, a person is being moral when he is performing moral acts. Therefore, the requisite for cultivating a reputation as being virtuous is through performing acts that are moral or virtuous which makes the person becomes moral or virtuous. This is the heart of her argument regarding the supposed autonomy of happiness and morality with each other. Aristotle postulates “being moral will make you happy” (qtd. in Vitrano 4), which Vitrano argues saying that the morality and intellectual character of a person do not automatically lead to happiness (3). In her words, Vitrano states “we do find happy immoralists, people who knowingly break the rules of society and appear unaffected by it” (3). Vitrano makes a plausible explanation for her conclusion that a person who appears to be moral needs first to perform virtuous acts or by being virtuous. One cannot establish his or her image as a virtuous person without doing acts that have intrinsic moral values in it. I agree with Vitrano that an appearance of a virtuous individual entails the actual doing of things which are deemed virtuous. For instance, a president is not seen as a virtuous person without acting like one, such as abolishing the death penalty because it is pro-life. If the president does the opposite by signing the retention of that capital punishment, on a philosophical perspective, he appears to be immoral by doing the exact opposite of a virtuous act. Based on Aristotelian perspective, moral or intellectual virtues are the key to happiness; meaning, failure to appear virtuous by not performing moral acts does not make a person happy. However, I do agree with Vitrano that moral acts do not necessarily result to happiness because it is an independent domain apart from morality and intelligence. This has also the same logic with what Martin says, “Individuals blessed with every good fortune can be unhappy because they are depressed, and individuals with little good fortune can still be happy” (8). In the same way that fortune does not mean happiness, doing moral acts also does not automatically lead to happiness. Pascal’s Wager: Similarities and Differences with Vitrano’s Christine Vitrano’s view of happiness and morality shares some similarities with Pascal’s Wager. Both Vitrano and Pascal acknowledged the subjectivity among humans in terms of reasoning their state of happiness and their religion. Vitrano states that happiness cannot be construed on the volume of material possessions a person has or the moral and intellectual cause of his or her actions (3). Happiness is when humans view their lives positively, albeit fortune or doing things with morality and intellectual purpose as foundations (Vitrano 3). In other words, human happiness depends on the personal outlook of the person regarding the way he or she lives life. This view is embodied in the “life satisfaction view” that follows the subjectivity of one’s basis for being in a state of happiness (Vitrano 3). On one hand, Blaise Pascal in his work Pensees, encapsulated in his Wager the rationalization behind every religion. In the same case as Mathematics believes the existence of an infinite number although its appearance has not yet been witnessed, the same case applies to the existence of God. In Pascal’s Wager, he quantifies that God is “infinitely incomprehensible” because he is not, by affinity, related to us, and that he has neither “ ...Show more
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Summary

Happiness and Morality Being Moral and Appearing to be Moral Christine Vitrano provides a clear differentiation between being moral and appearing to be moral. In the book “Happiness and Morality,” Vitrano argues that one can appear to be virtuous by not being virtuous (qtd…
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