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Explain how Macintyre's or Aristotle's account of a life lived in accordance with virtues could be applied to the issue of consumerism.

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Introduction

Explain how Macintyre's or Aristotle's account of a life lived in accordance with virtues could be applied to the issue of consumerism (20) Emma James U6H Aristotle's ethics emphasizes the importance of reason and virtue for good moral character. Aristotle argued that every action has a purpose (telos), and that the good is the aim of every action. He went on and gave two classifications of good: Good as a means; good as an ends. He believed that happiness is the ultimate good or ultimate purpose for what other purposes are sought for. Aristotle believed that maturity is a prerequisite for the study of ethics. He believed that ethics has its own level of precision just as other sciences have their own level of precision. He also believed that ethics only enquired into the good for man. In searching for what is good for man, Aristotle rejected pleasure, honour, wealth and life of contemplation. Aristotle defined virtue as one's capacity to do something well that perfects one's nature. Vice, on the other hand, is the opposite of virtue. It is also the capacity of one's character to modify ones passions and so forth. He said that virtue is like habit or like a mean between excess and defect. ...read more.

Middle

If you allow yourself to become absorbed in consuming then you are practicing a vice, not a virtue. Aristotle rejected wealth - but is there really something wrong with being wealthy if you act according to the golden mean? If you spend how you should spend, and act how you should act without becoming caught up in the concept of consumerism. If you become obsessed with consumerism, you then become greedy and never satisfied - you always want the next best thing. For example celebrities who have so much money they don't know what to do with it. They can become unsatisfied with what they have, even though it's much more than the majority of the world's population. According to the golden mean, consuming must be rational. If you spend too little you're miserly, but if you spend too much you're greedy. The important factor is to spend in the right amount. Not too much and not too little. The route to happiness is not to spend lots of money everyday on unnecessary things, but to spend in moderation. However, contemporary consumerism does not fit this mean. A society which is caught up in consumerism do not take into account spending in moderation. ...read more.

Conclusion

As a reaction against hedonistic consumerism, some people, while acknowledging that some consumerism is necessary, choose to exercise their consumerism ethically... fair-trade goods, body shop, free range foods, cosmetics not tested on animals, investment in green companies - Aristotle would approve of these businesses because they are taking into account the polis, and not working to make a profit just for themselves. Aristotle said career should not be seen simply as a means to making money, rather it should involve: some worthwhile activity, contributing to self worth, being meaningful, seeing the place of work as a community, not seeing ones career simply as a means to paying rent but as having as much to do with life and its meaning. Our extreme consumer culture does not fare very well with Aristotle. He doesn't tell us not to consume, or tell us what to do. He points us to the type of people we should strive to be in such a society. Presumably enough people practicing the virtues in a society, the more likely that society is to be a virtuous one. Virtue ethics encourages us to think of things in terms of what we can become. Aristotle encourages us to think for ourselves, to employ the central virtue - reason - to work it out for ourselves... and then to act. ...read more.

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