29 August 2007

Virtue ethics

I had intended to outline a paragraph or so on each of the corporate virtues I proposed yesterday. I still intend to do that. Not today. Today, I managed to sidetrack myself while nitpicking explication clarity. And what a lovely sidetrack: virtue ethics. It's like stepping on a hornets' nest and getting stung. Then wanting to get stung some more. I've got a chunk of the classical world in my blood, so virtue ethics aren't new to me. But there's just so much to sink one's teeth into.

Practicality, legality, and [luckily] personal preference necessitate that I keep my descriptors firmly grounded in the secular and humanistic. So, carving away any religiosity carried in the two Greek terms I'm about to throw down, I am sorely tempted to make three replacements in yesterday's pretty picture:
  1. Wisdom out, phronesis in. Phronesis is practical wisdom, the ability to think about how and why we should act in order to change things, and especially to change our lives for the better.¹
  2. Sustainability out, eudaimonia in. Eudaimonia is fun to say. Oh, and also human flourishing, the knowledge that is required to reach the ultimate good.²
  3. Optimism out, sustainability in. Sustainability, despite being something of a buzz word, is a studied principle I am loathe to part with. Optimism is sufficiently captured within eudaimonia that it freed up a section and sustainability wedges in nicely as the intersection of arete, eudaimonia, and family.
If anyone I know has a well considered and erudite opinion on this, it's Todd. Somebody just got hisself called out. Snap. And probably Nathe as well. Snap!

¹ Taken from Wikipedia, of course.
² ibid.

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