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Views of Various Philosophers

Aristotle discusses aspects of ethical behavior and a moral sense and addresses the issue squarely in Book X of the Nicomachean Ethics as he considers whether it matters if human behavior derives from nature or nurture, an age-old question as to whether man's goodness is inherent, a natural disposition, or involves the acquisition of certain habits taught by society. There may even be two levels of goodness, one derived from nature as a gift that does not depend on ourselves, and another goodness taught by society and requiring our active participation to develop. The majority of people are swayed by force rather than argument, but the person living the good life does so by reason. To the degree that one uses reason to create character, reason can be said to be practical.

Kant identifies practical reason with the will. Kant does not believe we will our good automatically, and instead he believes we act for and because of reason. The will can thus ignore claims made upon it by emotions and the senses. Instead, the will responds to demands made by reason itself, and the consequences are expressed as rational imperatives. Kant and Aristotle agree that the individual can fall prey to impulses and desires and so be drawn astray. Aristotle sees the use of reason as sometimes an unconscious action inherent in the way nurture has developed a moral sense, while Kant emphasizes the consciousness of the will and states that we prove we are free by choosing actions because of reason.

2. Gilligan's ethics of responsibility sets the individual making a choice between answers of selfishness or responsibility. Such responsibility includes both responsibility for oneself and responsibility for others. Gilligan says that once obligation extends to oneself as well as to others, the disparity between selfishness and responsibility disappears (Gilligan 94). Her concern is with the need for women to be released from the intimidation of...

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Views of Various Philosophers. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:12, April 21, 2019, from