An understanding of virtue ethics

It argues that instead of doing the right thing even if it requires personal cost or sacrificing the interest of family or community members as the traditional Consequentialist and deontological approaches suggestwe can, and indeed should, put the interests of those who are close to us above the interests of complete strangers.

Aristotle held that eudaimonia is constituted, not by honor, wealth or power, but by rational activity in accordance with virtue over a complete life, what might be described today as productive self-actualization.

virtue ethics definition

Aristotle makes a number of specific remarks about phronesis that are the subject of much scholarly debate, but the related modern concept is best understood by thinking of what the virtuous morally mature adult has that nice children, including nice adolescents, lack. This is particularly true in the earliest years when the more complicated decision-making processes are not yet possible.

Virtue ethics dilemma example

Also, one's worth was comparative to others and competition was crucial in determining one's worth. Many, if not most, virtue theorists have treated the answer to this question as self-evident, but it is anything but. Some of these natural tendencies will be positive, such as a placid and friendly nature, and some will be negative, such as an irascible and jealous nature. Swanton, C. The virtue of kindness is about being able to perceive situations where one is required to be kind, have the disposition to respond kindly in a reliable and stable manner, and be able to express one's kind character in accordance with one's kind desires. Claims about what constitutes flourishing for human beings no more float free of scientific facts about what human beings are like than ethological claims about what constitutes flourishing for elephants. How could they fail to be reckless, thoughtless and short-sighted if they were not? Thus, a virtue theorist may argue that someone who commits a murder is severely lacking in several important virtues e.

At the end of the day, according to the exemplarist, our moral system still rests on our basic propensity to take a liking or disliking to exemplars. Slote makes a distinction between agent-focused and agent-based theories.

For virtue ethics, the problem concerns the question of which character traits are the virtues. That good is eudaimonia. In still others, it picks out actions that are not blameworthy even if not commendable.

God is both the exemplification and the source of all goodness.

virtue ethics example

Herman, B.

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Virtue Ethics: Morality and Character