Dangers to Human Society: Applying Aristotelian Virtue Ethics to Gulliver's Travels

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Authors
Holmes, Macie
Advisor
Greiner, Katherine
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Date of Issue
2023-04-28
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Title
Dangers to Human Society: Applying Aristotelian Virtue Ethics to Gulliver's Travels
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Presentation
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Abstract
According to Aristotle, individuals ought to strive to be virtuous. This idea is outlined in his Nicomachean Ethics, where he describes virtue as being the mean of two vices. In application, Aristotle’s understanding of virtue can be applied to societies as well as individuals, whether to highlight virtuous traits or the vices of the society. One place to do so is pertaining to Gulliever’s Travels, a satirical novel written by Jonathon Swift. Gulliver travels to a multitude of fictional islands and observes the societies within each. From the reader’s perspective, it is easy to identify the vices of each nation, in addition to those portrayed by Gulliver. By investigating two of Aristotle’s virtues and their vices found in Gulliver’s Travels and applying them to society as a whole, this inquiry will investigate the greatest dangers to human society as succumbing to vices which lead to an immoral society, especially when society is incapable of recognizing their faults.
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Semester
Spring
Department
Honors Scholars Program