Virtue Ethics Theory

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Virtue Ethics has been described as an ethical approach to questions about character and morals. Plato and Aristotle were two of the pioneers behind virtue ethics. Plato claimed that being virtuous requires a clear understanding of the type of virtue. While, Aristotle’s approach rejected Plato’s theory in support of a realistic one. There have been claims by other theorist that virtues can be compared to skills which are normally acquired through a person’s upbringing. Some of the virtues recognized by Aristotle are temperance, patience, truthfulness patience and ambition. While the cardinal vices are lust, pride anger and pride.

According to Aristotle, “Ever art and every inquiry, every action and choice, seems to aim at some good…[and] the good has rightly been defined as that at which all things aim.” For example, a teacher’s art aims at teaching, policemen aim is to protect and serve, and a nurse’s aim is to take care of their patients. This paper will examine the disadvantages and advantages of The Virtue Ethics Theory.

Virtue ethics is an ethical theory that focuses on the moral character of a person that performs a particular action rather than the ethical rules or consequences of the actions. The issue with virtue ethics is not so much about whether the consequences of the action is good or if the intent of the action is right. Instead its focus is on whether the person performing that action is exhibiting good traits or not. Virtue ethics establishes the rightness and wrongness of the actions of individuals by linking their choices to good character traits.

Furthermore, it focuses on encouraging individuals to develop great character traits such as generosity and wisdom. Virtue theorists believe that when a person has developed admirable characters traits, he or she will be in a great position to make the right decisions in life. Additionally, virtue ethics highlights the need for people to break those habits that prevent them from becoming a great person. Virtue ethics theory is of great importance because when people have the right character traits, the world becomes a better place to be.

The origin of the virtue ethics theory derived from the work of Plato and Aristotle who were distinguished ancient Greek philosophers. Virtue ethics theory is one of the oldest ethical theory in the western philosophy. (Frede) Virtue Ethics is the renowned work Aristotle’s “Nichomachean Ethics” which (which he named after his son,Nicomachus). According to the theorists, people that have good character traits tend to make morally appropriate decisions when facing challenging choices. The two believed that having moral character leads to moral decisions. The virtue ethics theory has been criticized by other virtue theorists that say the theory is socially relative. The three concepts of Virtue ethics theory are ethics of care, agent-based theories and Eudaimonism.

Ethics of care concept is defined as a moral action centered around interpersonal relations and kindness. Agent-based theory is defined as an action that is based around explaining and resolving relationship issues between the principal and agent which involve common sense. Eudaimonism is defined as a right action that leads to the happiness of the person. According to Michael Slote , Agent-focused theories understand the moral life in terms of what it is to be a virtuous individual, where the virtues are inner dispositions.

Aristotelian theory is an example of an agent-focused theory. On the other hand, he stated, agent-based theories are more thorough in their evaluation of actions is dependent on ethical judgments about the inner life of the agents who perform those actions. There are a number of traits that people find admirable, for example loyalty, commitment, good manners, etc. and these traits can be identified by looking at the people we can identify these by looking at the people we respect and admire.

Eudaimonia is a loosely used Aristotlean term that translates as happiness. To have a better understating of its role in virtue ethics we must first look at Aristotle’s explantion of the word. Aristotle recognized that actions are meaningless unless they have a purpose. Eudaimonia is a means to live happy and content. Not all types of virtue ethics are eudaimonist. Agent-focused theories understands what is it to be a virtuous person, where the virtues are the moral life in terms of what it is to be a virtuous individual, where the virtues are natyral human tendencies.. Aristotelian theory is an example of an agent-focused theory. Ethics of Care says that we should put our the people we care about needs before starnagers.

Virtue Ethics Theory makes it possible for people to be better people in life. It encourages people to act properly and treat others with respect and empathy. The second strength of this theory is that it is broad and holistic (Remtulla, 2017). Virtue ethics theory takes into consideration a person’s feelings, skills, and moral characters. The third strength references the virtue ethics theory agent-centered. The theory focuses on the character of the moral agent and therefore it is not concerned about consequence or duty (Moore, 2017). Its focus is on encouraging people to make sound decisions depending on their morals rather than following the law. Additionally, the theory motivates people to take into account their personal relationships and care for others and their communities.

Critics of virtue ethics have suggested that Virtue Ethics Theory failed to provide a good account of the correct action. That’s why the theory is considered as an addition to theories of right action. Because of its incompleteness, a solution towards a specific moral dilemma may not be offered. The incompleteness of the virtue ethics theory is a result of focusing too much on the moral agent. Egoisms is also a weakness of the theory. Critics state that the theory deals with the character of a person yet it is supposed to deal with how the action of the person affect other people.

In conclusion, according to virtue ethics theory, a person should show an appropriate response depending on the satiation. One’s determination can be directed by the virtues and we are subject to the natural law, because we have the potential to grasp the truth of practical judgments. To possess a virtue is to have the will to apply it and the knowledge of how to do so. Humans are susceptible to evil and acknowledging this allows us to be receptive to the virtues of faith, hope and charity—virtues of love that are significantly different from Aristotle’s virtues.

A lot of what has been written about virtue ethics has been in response to criticics of the theory. Throughtout hidtory, the account of virtue varie. The standard of excellence was determined from within the particular society and accountability was determined by one’s role within society. Also, one’s worth was comparative to others and competition was crucial in determining one’s worth.

In conclusion, the theory is limited because it concentrates only on a few of virtues. Theorist says that the theory does not focus on the bigger picture.


Cite this paper

Virtue Ethics Theory. (2020, Dec 16). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/virtue-ethics-theory/

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