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ETH 2200 TESU Foundations of Ethical Leadership Essay

ETH 2200 TESU Foundations of Ethical Leadership Essay


In Chapter 1.6 Byers and Stanberry state, “Philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle tackled fundamental questions of human existence with such insight that their ideas have remained relevant and universal even at the dawn of artificial intelligence.”

In Chapter 1.10 Zyglidopoulos notes, “Plato maintains that philosophers are those most suited to be good rulers (both effective and ethical leaders) because they possess the privilege of knowing what is good and what is not, and what a just and virtuous city should look like, something they have come to know after a long and hard period of study” (emphasis added). In The Republic (Chapter 1.11), Plato defines “the good” as the moral virtues of wisdom, courage, moderation, and justice, which he argues are fundamental characteristics of a leader. This emphasis on moral virtue or willingness to “do the right thing” undergirds our modern conceptions of ethical leadership.

In Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics (Chapter 1.6), he focuses on happiness and virtue, writing, “[i]f we consider what the function of man is, we find that happiness is a virtuous activity of the soul.” Aristotle’s writings form the basis of virtue ethics, which remains a popular contemporary ethical framework.

So, what can we learn from these ancient philosophies about what it means to be an ethical leader today? share your thoughts on the following prompts. Cite your sources using either MLA or APA Style.

Consider the role that knowledge of the good plays in ethical leadership. According to Plato, as illustrated in the Allegory of the Cave (Chapter 1.12), those with knowledge of the good who have escaped the cave of ignorance and understand moral virtue should be chosen to lead. What do you think of Plato’s argument? How important is knowledge of the good or moral virtue in an ethical leader? What sort of resistance to leaving the cave does Plato describe and how might this apply in a contemporary leadership setting? What issues may arise if a leader lacks knowledge of “the good”?

Describe virtue ethics in your own words. How important to you is virtue in an ethical leader? Why? According to Aristotle, how might a leader build a virtuous character? How might virtue ethics aid in decision-making when serving in a leadership role in today’s world?

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