Essay Example on Aristotelian Ethical Theory

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Aristotle put forward a number of arguments to help human beings point out what is morally right and wrong. The arguments are crucial, most so, when an individual is faced with many choices to choose from. In the case of Danielle, I would use these arguments to help her to make the correct decision. It is clear that taking any of the sides on the issue has both negative and positive consequences. For instance, if she lies to her, the roommate will get happy, but the happiness will be short lived. On the other hand, the roommate will be not happy if she tells the truth. However, telling the truth will help her improve her writing skills for better performance in the examination.

Virtue of Ethics; Aristotle argued that right and wrong is judged in accordance to traditional virtues. Hence, an individual should do things that are morally accepted in the community in which she or she lives (Donagan, 2009). He pointed out there are some objectives of living in accordance with the ways some of the community. Some of the objectives are justice, peace, courage, and wisdom. Danielle ought to consider this before helping her roommate.

Utilitarianism; right and wrong in determined by the overall positive consequences. According to Aristotle, right is right provided the majority of people accepted it. Hence, an individual need to consider the overall effect of an action before judging it whether it is wrong or right. The theory is applied when the action affects more than one person (Donagan, 2009). Where the action affects one person like in this case, other peoples view about the same must be taken into consideration.

Divine Command theory; Aristotle argued that there is a strong connection between morality and religion. For instance, in Christianity, it is a sin to lie. In fact, one of the commandments states that do not lie (Donagan, 2009). It means that Danielle would not lie if she bases her reasoning on religion. Something is right because God commands it. If God commands His people not to do something, He does so because it is wrong. In most cases, the Gods commands sync with the ethics.

Moral subjectivism; it states that right and wrong are determined by what the doer feels is right and wrong. People may have different views on what is wrong or right, but what matters is your conscience. Right action always brings happiness. Therefore, many people end up engaging in actions that make them or people around them happy. It is also connected with the motive behind an action (Hardie, 2008). It means that I may tell my friend a lie so as to make him or her happy. Here, people do not consider long-term consequences that can be very detrimental. Short terms consequences are always pleasant, enticing people to make wrong decisions.

The Aristotelian theory is helpful and can be used by Danielle to decide on what to tell her roommate. It is upon her judge on what is right and wrong, taking all the arguments into consideration. In conclusion, Aristotelian theory on morality and be applied in real life situation.



Donagan, A. (2009). The theory of morality. University of Chicago Press.

Hardie, W. F. R. (2008). Aristotle's ethical theory.



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