Can Virtue Make Us Happy? The Art of Living and Morality: Otfried Höffe
Höffe’s first question is how to determine and define “the good.” He cites three habits, three interests, and three meanings that, together, form a recipe for an understanding of goodness. “Good” can apply to any one of the three meanings of ethos: Ethos 1, the habits associated with the relationship between an organism and its location; Ethos 2, moral habits that correspond to societal conventions; and/or Ethos 3, habits that form a personal course, independent of society’s influence. Habits can be evaluated through the lens of three interests. They can be examined empirically, through description of cultural moral habits and through explanations of origin and function. They can be examined with concern for the normative task, either in an effort to evaluate the validity and morality of the habit or to prescribe “should” imperatives that apply to both eudaimonistic and deontological views. Finally, they can be examined through attention to moral philosophy, seeking a meta-ethical standard for standards.