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CHAPTER 4 â VIRTUE ETHICS General Overview The objectives of this chapter are to describe and analyze virtue ethics, from both Western and Asian perspectives. This will involve distinguishing the ways in which virtue ethics differs from both consequentialist and nonconsequentialist approaches. Central to this discussion will be the investigation of the Aristotelian âgood lifeâ and the Confucian notion of âself-cultivation.â Class Suggestions This chapter treats the re-emerging virtue ethics approach from both Western and Asian perspectives. Given this diversity, unique so far in the text, it will be important to distinguish the ways in which comparative philosophical discussions can take place and also to warn students away from making falling victim to false cognates between the two traditions. There are a range of activities that an instructor might use to help students learn and engage with this material in this chapter. The section on Aristotle raises the question of an end or purpose to life. This obviously has great potential for philosophical discussions and, again, there are a variety of exercises you might use to get students thinking about it. This is related, and yet distinct from the Confucian notion of self-cultivation or self-development. Here is a simple but very effective exercise involving the whole class: get students to each write their names at the top of a blank piece of paper. Below that they should write âI attend college in order toâ¦â and they should complete the sentence by thinking about their reason for attending college. Students then pass their piece of paper to the person on the left. Each student should now take the end of the previous sentence and use it begin a new sentence. If one attends college â to.. get a good jobâ, the next sentence would begin âI want to get a good job in order toâ¦â When the second sentence has been completed, students should fold over the first sentence, so that only the second sentence is visible, and once again pass it to their left. Try six or seven rounds or until they run out of reasons. Get students to return the papers back to the person whose name is at the top and ask students to read out whatâs written on their sheet of paper. Be prepared for comedy. In a feedback session the instructor might raise the issues of whether all actions have a purpose, whether there is an ultimate end to all of our actions, i.e., happiness, pleasure, etc., and whether morality should or should not serve those ends. This is usually where comedy yields to tragedy. 26 Copyright Â© 2009 Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458. All rights reserved.