Philosophy Question

Read over the following:

The cemetery near Fatima’s house has a sign posted at its entrance stating that dogs are not allowed on the premises. In fact, according to the sign, this is the law: a city ordinance prohibits residents from using cemeteries for a variety of recreational purposes—including walking or playing with their dogs.

Still, Fatima does walk her dog there occasionally. It’s the only green space within walking distance of her house, and Fatima’s dog really appreciates the exercise and the exposure to something besides concrete. She always picks up after her dog, and doesn’t allow him to dig up grass or destroy any plants. Besides, the cemetery is a historical one. No one has been buried there for decades. Fatima has rarely seen anyone besides herself visiting the cemetery; and the other people she has seen there have all seemed to be walking the grounds to get exercise or to check out the old gravestones and mausoleums. As far as she can tell, she has never seen anyone visiting the cemetery to visit a deceased loved one.

If anyone asked her and her dog to leave, Fatima would definitely comply. But given that the law was probably written to respect family members’ grief, and to enable them to honor their loved ones in peace, it seems that the spirit of the rule doesn’t really apply in this case. Moreover, Fatima believes that she isn’t being disrespectful to those who are buried there, and she certainly isn’t causing any harm. In fact, she figures that it’s better that the space gets used and appreciated for something, even if that’s walking her dog.

According to Aristotle is there anything morally wrong with what Fatima is doing? Explain you reasoning by detailing how Aristotle would use Virtue Ethics to think through the ethical issues in this case. Highlight the specific elements of that ethical system and explain how they can be applied here to determine how that system would judge the case. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate how well you understand Virtue Ethics. Answers that only focus on one or two elements of the ethical system, without engaging further aspects of the system, will only earn partial credit.


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