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Virtue ethics

On Monday, we were lucky enough to attend a virtual talk by Professor Sophie-Grace Chappell on virtue ethics. The talk was very interesting and extremely insightful in explaining in depth the qualities and thoughts concerning virtues, those which we desire in ourselves and others. Through the consideration of Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics we explored the importance of being moral and how this connects to human happiness and solidarity. We also discussed the methods of Philosophical Study, how we can both contemplate ideas ourselves as well as studying the ideas of previous philosophers and the importance of both being able to think for ourselves and not lose sight of the philosophy.

Niamh L6A, Rose L6C and Annie L6G

Professor Chappell gave an informative and interactive lecture on virtue ethics. We discussed some prominent questions of virtue ethics such as ‘which virtues are desirable?’ and ‘what is it for something to be a virtue?’. We considered the difference between moral and non-moral virtues and examined which of these traits are most admired in public figures and ourselves. We found that we highly regard beauty and success – neither of which are moral traits – while also applauding confidence and bravery which are classed as moral attributes. We thought about the four virtues dictated by Aristotle – justice, prudence, temperance, courage – and reflected on how these had been added to in 1 Corinthians 13 so that they now include faith, hope and charity. Part of our discussion was dedicated to how we can come up with new philosophical ideas while not stepping on the toes of the greats and how while it is important to think for ourselves, to avoid reinventing the wheel we should also expand our knowledge by reading.

It was really interesting to discuss why we should be moral in the first place. We came to the conclusion that being in a world where everyone was entirely moral and could not break – except for you who had the ability to break rules in secret – seemed ideal. However, it was then acknowledged that if you were hiding your true actions and personality then it would feel incredibly isolating and ultimately it would be an undesirable reality.

It was lovely to speak to an actually alive philosopher as we do not encounter many in our course and it was inspirational to see a woman doing so well in her field.

Eleanor L6B, Helena L6E and Holly L6

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