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PASSED with a 442! Studying for the DSST Ethics in America exam. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the works studied, but it might get you off to a good start!


Treatise on Civil Government

Harm Principle

Mills, Utilit­arian
Government can coerce people only to prevent harm to others
Free Speech, no censorship
"On Libert­y"
Certain groups need protection from themse­lves: Children, "­bac­kwa­rds­" societies

Harvard Ethics Class

Harvard Univer­sity's Justice with Michael Sandel These are excellent videos discussing a variety of topics relating to ethics. Each video contains 2 classes, roughly 30 minutes each class.

Thomas Hobbes



Nature of man is a state of war against every man against other men. Materi­alist. Temporary happiness is all that can be achieved in this life.

Traits like GRATITUDE & MODESTY enable people to live harmon­iously together in society.
Life is solitary, nasty, brutish, and short.


a free man is he that in those things which by his strength and wit he is able to do is not hindered to do what he hath the will to do
- Leviathan

Thomas Hobbes

State of nature: Man's natural state = war & violence

Right of nature: Power of others constrains our acts

Laws of nature: Fear + desire for good life = peace

Laws & enforc­ement that make up the social contract. Ethical laws originate from agreements entered into by people & groups. = Social Contracts = give up some freedoms to get safety & group benefits

Need absolute monarch to rule society & rebellion not allowed.

Corrective Justice

Voluntary Transa­ctions
Contracts, etc.
Limited to correcting injured party for losses suffered.
Punsh wrongdoer
Community reprat­ions. Restore both parties.
"eye for an eye"

Distri­butive Jusice

Deals with how goods are distri­buted fairly in a society. Finite number of things. Laws that govern the country.

Rawls - inequality justified only when it benefits everyone (encourage people to be more produc­tive)

Libert­arian - diversity in society is valuable and people should have freedom to keep what they earned. Never ok to take from one to give it to another.

Rousseau - excessive inequality destroys freedom if wealthy act like tyrants

It's all about REASON

Aristotle Man alone is a rational animal and ration­ality (reason) should be used, among other things, to develop virtues.
Reason develops virtue, virtuous people have certain emotions which lead to right acts.
Virtue of Character = using reason to choose and act well
Virtue of intellect = acquired wisdom or learning

Kant lived a life of structure and reason as reflected in his ethical concepts. Critique of Pure Reason

Aquinas Natural Law + reason = we should do what's naturally good and allow reason to restrain us from "­nat­ura­l" impulses that are bad


Empiri­cism, Ration­alism, Pure Reason

Name several Empirical philos­ophers
Locke, Hume, Bacon
What is Empiri­cism?
Reasoning from senses using hard facts. (a poster­iori)
What is Ration­alism?
Some things are known without experi­ence.
Name some Rational philos­ophers.
Descartes, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Spinoza
What was Kants view of reason?
Transc­end­ental Idealism. "­Cri­tique of Pure Reason­". Some reason we were born with (a priori) and some things we discover through experi­ence.


Catego­rical Impera­tive: Do X

Hypoth­etical Impera­tive:
If you want X, do Y


Natura­listic fallacy: can't get an "­oug­ht" from an "­is"

Natural Law & Natural Rights

Natural Law is determined by nature = universal (universe is morally neutral). Refers to the use of reason to analyze human nature and deduce rules of moral behavior from it.

Suppor­ters: Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke.

Because of the inters­ection between natural law and natural rights, it has been cited as a component in the United States Declar­ation of Indepe­ndence
Locke: Life, Liberty & Property.
Jefferson: Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness

Wikipedia = Natural Law

Natural rights are those not contingent upon the laws, customs, or beliefs of any particular culture or govern­ment, and therefore universal and inalie­nable (i.e., rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws).

Wikipedia = Natural Rights

It's all about PLEA­SURE

Hedonist maximize net pleasure (minus pain)
Epicurian (moder­ation)
Egoism (long term rational personal self interest)
Asceticism (no good for yourself - like spiritual people who deny all pleasure)
Altruism (what's good for others, not necess­arily self)

Conseq­uences? PLEASURE!

Jeremy Bentham

Utilit­ari­anism - greatest good for greatest number of people. Group happiness. Conseq­uen­tial. Hedonic Calculus. Don't abuse animals because they feel pain.

Modified the philosophy of Epicurus (the first utilit­arian).

Motivated the Philos­ophical Radicals (group of social reformers in early 19th cent) Human happiness not natural rights. Universal male suffrage.

Yes, that's Bentham's embalmed head at the foot of his body. You really should look into THIS guy!

Bentham's Hedonistic Calculus

1. Intensity (I)--How intense is the pleasure or pain?

2.Duration (D)--How long does the pleasure of pain last?

3.Cert­ainty (C)--What is the probab­ility that the pleasure or pain will occur?

4. Propin­quity (nearness or Remote­ness) (R)--How far off in the future is the pleasure or pain?

5.Fecu­ndity (F)--What is the probab­ility that the pleasure will lead to other pleasures?

6.Purity (P)--What is the probab­ility that the pain will lead to other pains?

7.Extent (E)--How many persons are affected by the pleasure?

Memory tip: PC FRIED


Greatest Happiness Principle

Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness.

Greatest Happiness Principle

Utilit­ari­anism - Jeremy Bentham's formul­ation

One must always act so as to produce the greatest aggregate happiness among all sentient beings, within reason.

John Stuart Mill's major contri­bution to utilit­ari­anism is his argument for the qualit­ative separation of pleasures. Bentham treats all forms of happiness as equal, whereas Mill argues that intell­ectual and moral pleasures (higher pleasures - Shakes­peare) are superior to more physical forms of pleasure (lower pleasures - The Simpsons).


Attacked the notion of natural rights as
"­simply nonsense: natural and impres­cri­ptible rights, rhetorical nonsense -- nonsense upon stilts­"


Our moral actions are not guided by reason but by our feelings.

Doing good gives people pleasure.
Virtue is driven not by benevo­lence and sympathy (not self-i­nte­rest)

Slave to passions


A few memory tips...

"­Tre­atise of HUMan Nature­" written by HUMe

"Man is the MEASURE of all things­­" by PROT(r­act­or)­AGORAS

a priori = PRIOR knowledge, a posteriori = POST = "­aft­er" knowledge


Thoughts, behaviors and decisions have to happen because previous events and laws of nature determine them.

pre-de­sti­nation ~ determ­inism

Conflicts with philos­ophies based on concepts of individual freedom.

Prima Facie Duties

W.D. Ross
The Right and the Good (1930)
Best known for developing a pluralist, deonto­logical form of intuit­ionist ethics. Edited and translated many of Aristo­tle's works.

1. benefi­cence
2. non-ma­lef­icence
3. justice
4. self-i­mpr­ovement
5. reparation
6. gratitude
7. fidelity (promise keeping)

In a situation, many of these duties may apply. Sometimes they may contradict one another. One duty is always the weightiest and over-rules all the others. This is the absolute obligation or absolute duty, the action that the person ought to perform.

I promise to meet my friend for lunch at 12:00. On they way I walk past a burning building and see some children who need help escaping. What do I do?
Kant - keep the promised lunch date
Ross - helping the children outweighs the other promise keeping duty so do that first

It's all about LOYA­LTY

Josiah Royce extended Kant's deonto­logical path

Highest duty = loyalty and other duties flow from it

Autonomy + Justice + Benevo­lence = Loyalty

Mastering DSST Exams

Chapters about each of these DSST tests:
Ethics in America, Introd­uction to Computing, Principles of Superv­ision, Substance Abuse, Business Mathem­atics, Principles of Public Speaking, Fundam­entals of College Algebra, Technical Writing

Each chapter contains a Diagnostic Test (20 questi­ons), several pages of inform­ation about the topic followed by a post test (60 questions)

Find it here on Amazon

Catego­rical Imperative


- Act only according to the maxim by which you can a the same time will that is should become a universal law. Univer­sality If I can do it, everyone can do it.

- Act so you treat humanity (self/­others) as an END and never merely as a MEANS.


Metaph­ysics of Morals.
Critique of pure reason.
Doctrine of Right, Doctrine of Virtue

It's all about DUTY

Deonto­log­ists. Kant.

Economic Inequality

Egalit­arian - drastic inequality is unfair & unethical

Rawls - people in "­ori­ginal positi­on" would oppose inequality unless it was justified to all

Act & Rule Utilit­arians - relief of poverty would bring greatest happiness to greatest number

Nozick - unethical to tax labor of one to give to another

Animal Rights

Histor­ically, animals were outside the ethical frame.

Bentham, Utilit­arian = animals can experience pleasure or pain. This consid­eration must be balanced against any offsetting benefit.

Carol Gilligan


1936- American educat­or/­psy­cho­logist.

Watching young boys/girls play games. Observed even in young children, boys tend to be oriented towards the "­rules of the game" while girls are less focused on rules and often quit playing to avoid conflict.

Ethics of Justice = Men = rules > emotions
Ethics of Care = Women = Consider relati­onships & respon­sib­ilities

It's all about DIVINE COMMAND

What God commands is ethically right and what God prohibits is ethically wrong.
(If God doesn't mention it, we assume it is "­maybe OK".)

Hebrew Bible
Christian Bible

Aquinas (Christian + Stoic + Aristotle) (Natural Law)

(Natural Law = God commands it because it is wrong)


"I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. "


Universe = organic whole

Philosophy = several planes - the spiritual or religious, moral, political, economic, social, individual and collec­tive. God at core. Human nature = fundam­entally virtuous. All are believed to be capable of high moral develo­pment and reform.


emphasis on practical idealism rooted in highest religious idealism

Read more.


"I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photog­rap­hers. "


opposed to political restri­ctions on individual freedom. Respect for other people means letting them pursue their own concept of what is good.

Freedom of speech, religion & privacy
freedom from coercive interf­erence from the government

Minimal government

Locke, Rand, Mill, Nozick*


Indivi­duals have rights and there are things no person or group may do to them (without violating their rights).


Compared income tax to forced labor and stated that the redist­rib­ution of wealth is only justif­iable when it is resolving a past injustice.

Libert­arian* Later in life he recanted the libert­arian position because of implic­ations for the weakest members of society.

John Locke

Life, Liberty & Property. Tabula Rosa. Empiri­cist. Father of Classical Libera­lism. Treatise on Civil Govern­ment, Human Nature.

Immanuel Kant

Moral law. He was a proponent of duty. Motive based on duty=m­oral.

Catego­rical Impera­tive= would you still think it is virtuous if everyone did it? Tell us what to do NOT based on desires. People can only be the end not the means to an end

Doctrine of right=­justice & law

Doctrine of virtue­=ethics & virtue

Hypoth­etical Impera­tiv­e=p­eople who want to achieve a goal they refer to..?


John Locke compared to Thomas Hobbes



Emotivism is a meta-e­thical view that claims ethical sentences do not express propos­itions but emotional attitudes (also known as the hurrah/boo theory)
- Ayer

"­Ste­aling is wrong."­ This is just an emotional opinion that relates solely to how I feel about this issue.

Corrective Justice - Types of Punishment

Disabl­ement - placing convicted criminal in prison or executing

Deterrence - potential criminals attempt to avoid being impris­one­d/e­xec­uted, so they do not commit crimes

Rehabi­lit­ation - prisoners spend time earning an education or learning a trade that can be used once released from prison to avoid the lure of criminal activity.


Using moral statements to prescribe a general course of action. "­Ste­aling is wrong, so no one should steal."­


You instin­ctively know if it is right or wrong.

"Come on man, you know it's not right to steal that."


"An unexamined life is not worth living­"

Branches of Ethics

Descri­ptive = Describes ethical standards of a society

Normative = evaluates and searches for norms in a society, what people should believe to be right or wrong

Applied = applying ethics to specific problems

Meta-E­thics = studying the nature & meaning of moral judgments, terms & concepts
Click here for a pdf (UMass Amherst) with lots of good inform­ation describing the differ­ence.

Alison Jaggar

Feminist Ethics

She was instru­mental in the creation of the field of feminist studies, and taught what she believes to have been the first feminist philosophy course ever offered


Utilit­ari­anism - What brings about the greatest good for the greatest number of people?
- Bentham, Mills
Act Utilit­ari­anism: The act which brings the greatest increase in overall happiness. Varies with circum­stance.

Rule Utilit­ari­anism: Follow moral rules


"It is the greatest happiness of the greatest number that is the measure of right and wrong"


Thelog­ian­/Ph­ilo­sopher - Happiness is the basis for philos­ophy.
Happiness is growing in the knowledge of God.

Man's original nature: depraved & bound by original sin.


Reinca­rnation or nirvana
Ancestors are honored but not particular gods

Siddhartha Gautama "­Bud­dha­" - the enligh­tened one (was a Brahmin priest)

Life is suffering. 4 noble truths. Live helpful life. Eightfold path.

Happiness comes from being loving, compas­sio­nate, patient, forgiving and respon­sible.

Actions & Duties


And what, monks, is Right View? It is, monks, the knowledge of suffering, the knowledge of the origin of suffering, the knowledge of the cessation of suffering, and the knowledge of the way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering. This is called Right View.


Holy community (Aryas­amgha)

The reality of human interd­epe­ndence with all other beings.

cultivate universal awareness, including harmony with nature. Our most important duty is not to harm living beings (ahimsa). All living beings, not just humans, have a correl­ative right not to be harmed.


"I know that I know nothin­g"

Quizlet Cards


"­Might Makes Right" History of the Pelopo­nnesian Wars.
Athens vs. Melos

Domest­ic=­social contract,
Foreign policy=no contract (strongest state rules).

Indivi­duals are basically selfish and not moderated by moral rules (very cynical
of human nature).


Sparks Notes

Moral virtues - indicate excellence of character = temper­ance, courage, self- respect, gentle­ness, truthf­ulness, generosity (liber­ality). (learn by habit & practice)

Intell­ectual virtues - scientific knowledge, intuition, practical wisdom, skill & wisdom (scien­tific knowledge + intuit­ion). (learn through instru­ction)

Autonomy of will to choose mean


teache­rs/­lec­turers of virtue & excellence (not philos­ophers) who taught their beliefs for a high price in Athens where there was free speech and money


1st Relativist - relies on persuasion more than truth. Every point of view is equally valid and different people have different standards of behavior

Growing democratic system in Ancient Greece most likely led to it. They traveled around talking politics with Athenian citizens who were required to partic­ipate in politics.


"­Actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happin­ess­"
- Utilit­ari­anism

Adam Smith

Founder of capita­lism.

Common good of society advances when indivi­duals focus on benefiting themselves (moral egoism)

It's all about HAPP­INESS

Mill, Bentham, Headon­ists, Aristotle, Kant, Socrates, Epictitus

John Stuart Mill

Father = Member of Radicals, friend of Bentham.

"On Libert­y". Utilit­arian.

Only time government has moral authority to limit person's liberty is when harm may occur otherwise.

"The Subjug­ation of Women"

St. Thomas Aquinas

A 13th century Catholic priest who drew a connection between theology & science. He believed learning about nature was a way to learn about God.

Just War
Summa Theologica

4 Cardinal Virtues : prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance

7 Deadly Sins: pride, avarice, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, sloth

Natural laws are self evident

Laws should punish offenders.

People have a natural inclin­ation to want to protect life & be good.

Liked Aristotle and added faith, hope & love.


Everything in life has a purpose

Moral Law

Similar to physical, scientific laws in that it is universal. Can be discovered through human nature and reason.

Natural law theory
Social contract theory

It's all about CONS­EQU­ENCES

Action is good/bad based on conseq­uences of the action. Focuses on outcomes, not actions.

Hedonism = pleasu­re/pain
Epicurus = pleasure, no gods influence, moderation
Cyrenean = anything goes
Utilit­ari­anism = good if good conseq­uences outweigh bad for all
Altruism = welfare of others more important than self
Egoism = all about me

Morals vs. Ethics

Ethics = wider view (society, workplace) of what's right or wrong

Morals = someone's personal values & feelings about ethical subjects

Roe v. Wade

1973 Supreme Court ruling. Woman has non-ab­solute right to choose abortion during the 1st trimester of pregnancy.

1st trimester (1-3 months)
- Woman's sole choice
- State has no authority

2nd trimester (4-6 months)
- Woman's choice
- State may intervene only to protect woman's life

3rd trimester (7-birth)
- State may protect "­pot­ential human life" except at risk to mother


Human Unders­tanding Reason

Various Ethical Perspe­ctives

the one that will produce the greatest benefits and least harm
the one that most dutifully respects the rights of all affected
Social Contract
the one that contri­butes most to the achiev­ement of a quality common life together
Virtue Theory
the one that embodies the habits and values of humans at their best (right being over right action)
Ask each of these perspe­ctives the question:

"What is the ethical action­?"
and they would say....


Ancient Greek theory that deals with the origin of the universe, especially the solar system.

Cosmogony can be distin­guished from cosmology, which studies the universe at large and throughout its existence, and which techni­cally does not inquire directly into the source of its origins.

Physical cosmology is the science that attempts to explain all observ­ations relevant to the develo­pment and charac­ter­istics of the universe as a whole.

The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmol­ogical model of the early develo­pment of the universe


Pythag­orean theorem:
" The sum of the areas of the two squares on the legs (a and b) equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse (c)."
a2 + b2 = c2


Pre-So­cratic Philos­opher

Ionian Greek, mathem­ati­cian, founder of "­Pyt­hag­ore­ani­sm" c 570 – c. 495 BC

Great mathem­atician & scientist. (Pytha­gorean theorem)

The philosophy associated with him was related to mathem­atics and numbers were import­ant­/magic. Reinca­rna­tion. Cosmol­ogist.

He may have been the first man to call himself a philos­opher, or lover of wisdom.


Ethics: An Introd­uction

Marianne Talbot is Director Of Studies in Philosophy at the University of Oxford's Department for Continuing Education

Series of 7 lectures from her class.

This series is the basis for OUDCE’s short online course Ethics: an Introd­uction

Why do people do wrong?

Rousseau Society has corrupted them

Socrates Don't have knowledge of right


Introd­ucing Ethics: A Graphic Guide.

Get it on Amazon or from the local library.


"An unjust law is no law at all"

John Rawls

Veil of Ignorance. Original position. Difference principle. Inequality is only acceptable if it works to the advantage of the worst off in a society.
"­Justice as Fairne­ss". Theory of Justice.


This link includes a playlist of many videos I found helpful.

It's all about JUST­ICE

John Rawls "­Theory of Justic­e". (Aristotle also defines Justice in "­Nic­hom­achean Ethics­")

Just War

What is Jus ad Bellum?
When use of force is justified. (right to go to war)
What is Jus in Bello?
Ethical behavior during a war.
Who outlined this theory?
Thomas Aquinas
What are the 3 criteria that need to be met in order to go to war?
1. Authorized by proper authority. 2. Good reason (self defense) 3. Peace is the ultimate goal
What 3 criteria neet to be met in during the conduct of a war?
1. War against military only and not civilians. 2. Use of propor­tional force. 3. Use of minimal force.


"­Com­mitting an injustice is worse than suffering one."

Aristo­tle's Justice

Universal (lawful, right, for all)

Particular (distr­ibu­tive, retrib­ution - 2 people)

Study Helps

Wise Owl Guide to DSST Ethics in America is a great study help when preparing for this test. It even comes with a sample quiz in the back.

Slightly describing meta ethics

Meta-e­thics = branch of philosophy concerned with what makes moral statements true or false or if they even can be right or wrong


Morality should be valued in itself and relate to our unders­tanding of the world and our place in it. Moral choices are related to our unders­tanding of life.


Golden Mean - the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency

reckle­ssness --- courage --- cowardice

Jean-J­acques Rousseau

"The Social Contra­ct". Man's original nature = good. General Will - vote is the best thing for most people in a society. Direct Democracy. People can revolt at any time. Inspir­ation for the French Revolu­tion. DON'T give up freedoms to a govern­ment. No political parties - everyone should represent themselves and partic­ipate in making & obeying laws. Disobey laws = forced to be free.

People are naturally inclined to self protection & pity others

Discourse on Political Economy

Snazzl­efrag's Study Notes


Body dies, soul immortal.

Ahimsa - do no harm
Vedic, Bhagav­adgita - writings
Samsara - religion
karma - actions determine what happens to you
Dharma - righteous duties of person to people and gods.

Brahmins, Kshatr­iyas, vaisyas, sudras, pariah (untou­cha­bles)

Cows are sacred

Actions & Duties

Plato's Soul

"The Republ­ic" The Soul can be compared to an Ideal City.

Reason (Intel­lect) = Rulers (Philo­sop­her­-kings)

Appetite (desire) = Workers (producers motivated by some greed)

Spirit (emotions, honor) = Guardi­ans­/Wa­rriors (unsel­fish, moral & courag­eous)

Political justice replaces democracy & tyranny
1. Rule: non contra­diction
2. reason contra­dicts appetite so they are separate
3. spirit contra­dicts appetite & reason so it too must be separate

It's all about EXCE­LLE­NCE

The pursuit of excellence is most often linked with Ancient Greece.
Arete Greek word - in its basic sense, means "­exc­ellence of any kind".



Absolute law rules the universe and humans can't change fate.

Virtue requires living & acting according to reason and self-c­ontrol

Epictetus (Roman slave tortured by his master exempl­ified this philos­ophy)


the Handbook "­Enc­hir­idi­on"

Nel Noddings

Focused her research on origins of care within the home (paren­t-child relati­ons­hips)

Natural caring - care because of attach­ment, friendship or love

Ethical caring - care because it's the "­right thing to do"


If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor. Any alleged "­rig­ht" of one man, which necess­itates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right.

Ayn Rand

Me, Me, Me, Me...
Egoism, Conseq­uen­tial. No man has the right to force another to do something. Reason = values and action. Object­ivism - Rational happiness is the highest moral purpose. Opposed Kant.


Atlas Shrugged


a priori - you are born with some intuitions that you know to be true before you have any experience (Plato's forms, Descartes, Aquinas) Causality, Space, Substance, Time (CSST)

a posteriori - ideas form after contact with reality. Relies on inform­ation from your experience (Empir­icism, Hume, Mill)

Phenomena are the appear­ances, which constitute our experience - refers to anything that appears to, or is an object of, the senses

noumena are the (presumed) things themse­lves, which constitute reality - object or event that is known (if at all) without the use of the senses (Plato ideas = noumenal realm)

Our a priori judgments apply to the phenomenal realm, not the noumenal.

Double Effect Principle

Summa Theologica - St. Thomas Aquinas

Action can have 2 effects - Good & Bad

1. Object of act must be good. Do good, avoid evil.
2. Bad must not have been intended but can be tolerated as foreseen
3. Good can't come from result of evil effect.
4. Foreseen good greater than or equal to evil tolerated.

Never ok to do evil even if good results


Plato - wrong unless gods encourage it

Stoic - acceptable when it seems like a reasonable and justif­iable act

Jews & Christians - believe God prohibits suicide

Utilit­arian - moral only if increases total happiness of everyone involved

Kant - always an immoral act


Active - killing a sick or injured person for the sake of mercy, possibly giving a high dosage of drugs

Passive - letting someone die without attempting to save them

Voluntary euthanasia - Competent and completely informed patient freely reques­ts/­con­sents to death

Nonvol­untary euthanasia - incomp­etent patient or one who has not given consent

Involu­ntary euthanasia - Intent­ionally killing a patient against his/her will - considered murder

Autonomy = informed consent


Heinz Dilemma - a man's wife is dying and the pharmacist who found the cure wants to sell it at a high price. The man cannot afford the medicine and the pharmacist is not willing to negotiate. Should he steal, kill?

3 stages of moral develo­pment
1. Pre-moral a. Obedience v.s. develo­pment
2. Conven­tional c. good boy, girl-boys and girls are good so they are seen as being a good person. d. law and social order start
3. Post-c­onv­ent­ional e. Social Contract f. universal ethical principle


DANTES test prep

Good inform­ation for reviewing the test. Practice test at the end.


"­Con­cerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not, nor of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life."


Pre-So­cratic Greek philos­opher

Invented role of profes­sional sophist. (says Plato) Created major contro­versy stating, "Man is the measure of all things­", interp­reted by Plato to mean there is no absolute truth, but what indivi­duals deem to be the truth.

Credited with relativism



"Man is the measure of all things­"

Virtue Ethics

Emphasizes right being over right action. A person of virtuous character can be depended on to do the right thing. Not an altern­ative to right conduct theories (utili­tar­ianism & deonto­log­ical) but comple­ments them.

Suppor­ters: Buddhism, Taoism, feminist care ethics, Hume's moral philos­ophies, Aristotle, Jesus

Confucian (virtue ethics + deonto­logy)


We are not concerned to know what goodness is, but how we are to become good men, for this alone gives the study (of ethics) its practical value.

Virtue & Vice

virtue = admirable character trait or dispos­ition habitually act to benefit self & others

vice = character trait or dispos­ition to act in a manner that harms self & others


55-135 AD
People can't change fate because absolute law rules the universe.

Roman slave gained freedom. Used Socrates teaching style.


Virtuous happy life in the middle of uncert­ainty "do what's in accordance with nature­"

Universal brothe­rhood

Virtue = choose rightly, free will, nothing forces choice, complete self control, choose reason


I don't know what happened to all of our video links. I have tried to include the youtube: address in the description below so you can paste them into your browser if you can no longer see the videos in each box.

DaveChild DaveChild, 16:53 18 Apr 16

Hi sparkledaisy. Sorry about this. I switched the site to serve over HTTPS recently, which is better for user security, but there are some bugs as a result. I've fixed the video embedding now though.

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