Milestone 1: a letter to a child – aristotle’s virtue ethics


For this milestone you will write a letter to a child—it could be your own child, a younger sibling, a cousin, or simply a child from your neighborhood. In this letter, you will talk to that child about what you have learned thus far in class. Specifically, you will respond to the following prompt: 

1. Begin by reflecting on our in-class discussion. Describe in your own words what you have learned about how living an unexamined(explain what this is is in. your letter) life (discuss Plato’s “cave”) and an unvirtuous life(explain what this is is in. your letter) (discuss Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean) can lead to social conflict and oppression (situations where we individually limit ourselves and/or other people and situations where institutions hinder people). 

2. Next, think of an example you have seen of someone leading an unexamined life and someone leading an unvirtuous life demonstrated in society today. How can the concepts you read be applied to help guard against this and the harms that you saw arising from it? Tell the child how you will use what you have learned from Plato and Aristotle to set an example for them in the future. Make sure you are relating back to the readings here.

3. Finally, how do ethical issues vary between people and cultures? Give at least 2 specific examples. Think about how different cultures might conceive of happiness (eudaimonia) and virtue (models of excellence – specific virtues can be bravery, temperance, generosity, etc.) Take a position on why you think people respond differently. 

  1. Be sure to follow the letter format:       
  2. Use at least two quotes (one from Plato/Socrates and one      from Aristotle) to highlight in your letter.
  3. Try your best to write using clear, easily understood      language, but avoid using slang or informal English. Write in the      voice of a teacher or mentor.


For full credit you must do each of the following:

1. Student identifies and frames a problem or question in response to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” and Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean and integrates and applies elements of ideas, concepts, theories, or practical approaches in their letter to their future self.

2. Student describes how ethical principles or frameworks help to inform decision making with their future lives.

3. Student develops and presents cogent, coherent, and substantially error-free writing in the letter to their self.

4. Student submits the assignment with all necessary components included and follows all directions.

5. Student illustrates an ethical problem or an unethical action or set of actions relevant to their reading, explains the significance of this illustration, in terms of course texts, and shows how concepts from philosophy can be used to address the selected problem.

6. Student identifies an ethical issue and how it impacts a particular culture other than their own, gives at least two examples, and takes a position on it.

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