Questions for PSI 220 Ethics. Questions out of the book Vi…


In the book “Vice & Virtue in Everyday Life,” the authors provide an in-depth exploration of ethical dilemmas and considerations that individuals face in their daily lives. These quandaries often arise from conflicts between what is considered morally right or wrong, and how individuals should conduct themselves in complex situations. The book serves as a valuable resource for those seeking to understand and analyze various ethical issues, alongside developing critical thinking skills.

For the purpose of this assignment, we will consider a selection of questions from the book “Vice & Virtue in Everyday Life.” These questions encourage a deep examination of ethical principles, values, and decision-making processes. By addressing these questions, students can enhance their understanding of ethics and engage in insightful discussions.

Question 1: How does the concept of virtue ethics differ from other ethical theories?

Virtue ethics focuses on the development of good character traits and virtues, rather than the consequences of actions (consequentialism) or the adherence to rules (deontology). Unlike other ethical theories, virtue ethics places importance on individual character and moral habits. It emphasizes the cultivation of virtues such as honesty, generosity, and courage, which are seen as essential for leading a morally virtuous life. In contrast, consequentialism concentrates on achieving the greatest overall good, while deontology emphasizes the adherence to prescribed moral rules and duties.

Question 2: Is honesty always the best policy?

This question explores the ethical complexities surrounding honesty. While honesty is often regarded as a virtue, there may be situations where it is ethically justifiable to withhold or distort information. For instance, in cases where disclosing the truth might harm someone or compromise important values, alternative approaches may be more appropriate. Considering the nuances of honesty can lead to a deeper understanding of the moral implications involved in decision-making.

Question 3: What is the role of empathy in ethical judgment?

Empathy plays a vital role in ethical judgment as it enables individuals to understand and consider the emotions and perspectives of others. By putting oneself in someone else’s shoes, one can develop a more comprehensive understanding of the ethical implications of their actions. Empathy helps in fostering compassion, promoting fairness, and guiding individuals towards ethical decision-making that considers the well-being of others.

Question 4: How does cultural relativism influence ethical judgments?

Cultural relativism posits that ethical values and judgments are context-dependent and vary across different societies and cultures. It suggests that what may be considered morally right in one culture could be deemed morally wrong in another. Cultural relativism challenges the notion of universal moral truths and emphasizes the importance of cultural diversity in shaping ethical perspectives. Understanding the influence of cultural relativism can prompt individuals to critically examine their own ethical judgments while appreciating the diversity of ethical perspectives.

Question 5: Is it possible to lead an ethical life in an unethical society?

This question tackles the idea of individual agency and the extent to which individuals can make ethical choices in the face of an unethical societal framework. While an unethical society may present obstacles, individuals can still adhere to their personal ethical principles and act with integrity. It involves examining the limitations, challenges, and trade-offs individuals face in upholding their values within an unethical society. Exploring this question allows for a reflection on the role of personal ethics in shaping one’s actions and contributing to societal change.

Question 6: How does moral luck impact our ethical evaluations?

Moral luck refers to the concept that factors beyond an individual’s control can influence the moral evaluation of their actions. For instance, a person might make a morally questionable decision that turns out to have positive consequences due to luck, or vice versa. This question delves into the complexities of moral evaluations and challenges the notion of strict personal responsibility. It encourages an exploration of the role of intention, outcomes, and external factors in assessing the ethical dimension of actions.


The questions presented here offer a starting point for engaging with the ethical dilemmas and considerations discussed in “Vice & Virtue in Everyday Life.” By critically analyzing ethical theories, moral deliberation, and their application in specific contexts, students can enhance their understanding of ethics and develop skills necessary for thoughtful ethical decision-making.