Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

The Morality of Phil in Groundhog Day College

Aristotle, Kant, Mill, and Plato: All influential philosophers with differing opinions on what it means to be marked by morality. One situation in which the opinions of these philosophers could be used to evaluate the morality of a person is in the movie Groundhog Day, specifically looking at the actions of the character Phil. At the beginning of Groundhog Day, Phil is sarcastic and selfish. However, throughout the film, we see his character develop to be more wholesome. In this paper, I argue that Aristotle and Plato view Phil’s character as increasingly moral throughout the film, and Mill and Kant also see his actions to be gaining morality throughout the film.

Aristotle has ten virtues that he sees as morally good, and an excess or deficiency of any is a vice (Aristotle 1108b11). At the beginning of the film, Phil is at the vice for a few of these: generosity, friendliness, and appropriate anger. Phil shows that he is lacking generosity when he refuses to give money to the bigger on the street (Aristotle 1107b10). He shows a lack of friendliness when he is rude to his old classmate, Ned (Aristotle 1108a28). Lastly, Phil shows an access of anger on numerous occasions, namely when he kidnaps the groundhog (Aristotle 1108a5)....

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