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Aug 28th, 2015
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Aristotle says that the virtues are necessary for humans to attain...????

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, TV, etc.  Cite your sources.

Word count: 200



  1. Aristotle. (1931). Nicomachean ethics (W. D. Ross, Trans.). Retrieved from
    • Aristotle provides the classic framework for virtue ethics by identifying “happiness” or “living well” as the purpose of human life, giving an account of what that means, and explicating the virtues as those characteristics necessary to live well.

  1. Hill, T. (1983). Ideals of human excellence and preserving natural environmentsJournal of Environmental Ethics, 5(3), 211-24. Retrieved from
    • This article discusses the problem of environmental preservation by considering the various kinds of virtues and vices exhibited in different sorts of attitudes and behaviors toward the environment. He argues that this presents a more satisfying approach than thinking in terms of either utilitarian or deontological principles.
  2. Robinson, P. (2007). Magnanimity and integrity as military virtuesJournal of Military Ethics, 6(4), 259-269. Retrieved from the EBSCOhost database.
    • This article focuses on two virtues thought to be central to the character of someone in the military. He considers the importance of these virtues and how they relate to the life and actions of persons in the military, as well as their possible shortcomings and conflicts.

  1. Nussbaum, M. (n.d.). Virtue ethics [Video file]. Retrieved from
    • This very short clip explains some key features of Aristotelian virtue ethics.
  2. Wingclips. (n.d.). The bridge on the river Kwai [Movie clip]. Retrieved from
    • In this clip from the film, which is set during World War II, a group of British Army prisoners of war are building a bridge for their Japanese captors. The Colonel expresses the significance of character in the life of the soldier. Transcript
  3. Wingclips. (n.d.). The emperor’s club [Movie clip]. Retrieved from
    • The clip from this film relates to cheating and the relationship between cheating and one’s moral character. It also explores responses to virtue ethics and the relationship between virtue and success. Transcript

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