Aristotelian Perspectives on Social Ethics Essay

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Aristotelian Perspectives on Social Ethics

I examine the philosophical perspectives of Aristotle on issues of medical ethics and on his social ethics in general, including the moral issues of abortion, euthanasia, and other issues of social ethics such as the issue of cloning. I have chosen the domain of applied ethics as viewed from the Aristotelian point of view precisely because certain issues have been virtually unexamined by scholars. I shall direct attention to certain treatises of the Aristotelian corpus such as On the History of Animals, On the Generation of Animals, On the Soul, The Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics. My main objective is to provide a more systematic account of the Aristotelian perspectives on the above
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We learn about the Pythagorean views on marriage and procreation from Iamblichus (BII, 211-212) who indicates that a man should take the best of care for bringing a child into the world considering both the time and the way this should happen. What is more important, however, is to relate their views on procreation to their theory of the immortality of the soul. After death the soul disappears like a dream and dwells in a spiritual heavenly world until it reappears cleansed in a new birth. (2) The soul keeps only the fragmented happy moments of each of its cycles on an earthly life and will conclude its dream in the heavenly world, which is interrupted by its visitations (reincarnations) on earth. Thus, it is evident that for the Pythagoreans and, as result, the Hippocratic tradition, abortion would be morally unacceptable, since it stops this journey of the soul — the incorporeal part of the human body — towards its ultimate enlightenment, i.e. its relation to the divine. After all, such cases of bloody events like abortions, were seen as possible sources of ritual impurity. It is also noteworthy that such a view on abortion would relate to the conservative approach to abortion according to which the fetus has full moral status which implies that its right to life must be

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