Aristotle argues that virtuous action is defined by the reasonable person, that is, the person who has phronesis or practical wisdom. For example, he argues that what it means to act courageously is defined by the reasonable person. Going further, he argues that this is the person to whom we must look when we are deliberating on how to act with courage when faced with a dangerous situation in which we are filled with fear and we need to hit the courageous mark between acting foolishly and acting as a coward. Aristotle suggests that there is a universal standard on the reasonable or excellent person to whom we look.
In her article, “A Reasonable Woman” Kim Scheppele argues that the standard of “reasonableness” might be different for men and women. In other words, what is ‘reasonable’ for a woman who finds herself late at night in a strange neighborhood in what appears to be situation of physical danger might be different from what is ‘reasonable’ for a man. Bernard Goetz goes further, arguing that the notion of “reasonableness” should be up to the individual in the situation; he or she should be the judge of the reasonable action. What do you think? Do you agree with Aristotle, Scheppele, Goetz? Do you think there is an objective standard for deciding on what constitutes reasonable or excellent action in a situation? Or do you think there are situations in which the “reasonable” action should be defined differently for men and women? Or do you think that each person should decide the reasonable for him or herself? What are some of the dangers in defining reasonableness differently for different groups of people or allowing each individual to decide the reasonable course of action?
Your response should be between 400-600 words. Your response to the discussion prompt will be graded on the basis of the discussion rubric provided. Please refer to this rubric often when responding.
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