Aristotle and Hobbes
You can use “I” for this writing, and of course, you need to show your thoughts and opinions about topic. Please read the following instructions and answer appropriate
answers about the ALL questions. You may need more information about the topic from outside to answer the questions, then please go for it. In addition, please read an
attached ppt to answer the questions.*
For Aristotle, ethics is focused on virtue and excellence, and the attainment of happiness. Happiness is the ultimate, or most complete, good in our existence. In
order to live a happy life, however, we must act in accordance with reason. This is our peculiar function as human beings and by fulfilling our function we produce
In our reading, Aristotle explains that the study of ethics is not as precise as other sciences, a fact that is perhaps most clearly evident in his notion of the
‘mean.’ The mean is an intermediate state between the extremes of excess and deficiency. The virtuous person will seek out and tend to follow the mean in spite of
changing circumstances; and by doing so live a life of excellence and happiness.
In the case of Hobbes: it would seem important to bear in mind the fact that Hobbes’ primary concern is with maintaining social order. He lived during a particularly
volatile time in English history and many of his theories can be seen as partly in reaction to the English Civil War that took place in the middle of the 17th Century.
Hobbes believes that morality and justice result from the creation of a social covenant and a stable form of government. Without this contract, civil society will
dissolve into the state of nature, a state where individuals are pitted against each other and must fend for themselves. From a selfish perspective, the individual
understands that government and centralized authority are preferable to the state of nature, for in the former there is some guarantee of order and justice.
Here are some questions to keep in mind while considering Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics. Is it a good idea to make excellence and happiness the goals of Ethics? If so,
then why? If not, why might they be objectionable goals? Also, is character development as central to ethical behavior as Aristotle believes it to be?
Concerning Hobbes’ Leviathan: What were your reactions to Hobbes’ state of nature doctrine? Do you agree with his ideas of how justice comes to exist in society? Also,
do you think our experiences of competition, oppression, cruelty, war, and other such troubling and persisting features of human life add credibility to Hobbes’
somewhat pessimistic view of human nature?