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Honour and individualism: Reawakening Aristotle's virtues in the modern era

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This project asks whether the Aristotelian virtues have diminished as a result of a modern emphasis on the individual in place of the good of civilization. The idea of honour is addressed, suggesting that there is a place for a redefined concept of honour in modern society which could offer value to the individual while concurrently benefitting the larger community. Part I discusses the Aristotelian virtues, his concept of “the good” and the notion of human flourishing. An examination of the past and present ideas and definitions of honour follows. Charles Taylor’s Malaise of Modernity serves as evidence to support the notion that the virtues are in decline. Part II examines a case study of an honour code within an honour group, focusing on the US Department of Justice and a controversial decision. The relationship of honour to shame is examined in addition to honour’s shortcomings. Part III involves an examination of honour as a personal set of ethics. Paths toward utilizing a redefined concept of honour which allow the individual to flourish while enhancing the community are explored.
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