Virtue Ethics Essay Introduction

Essay on Virtue Ethics

900 Words4 Pages

Virtue, when I hear that word I think of value and morality and only good people can be virtuous. When I hear the word ethics I think of good versus evil, wrong and right. Now when the two are put together you get virtue ethics. You may wonder what can virtue ethics possibly mean. It’s just two words put together to form some type of fancy theory. Well this paper will discuss virtue ethics and the philosophy behind it.
Virtue ethics is a theory that focuses on character development and what virtues one should obtain to be who they are supposed to be, as oppose to actions. An example of virtue ethics would be someone who is patient, kind, loving, generous, temperance, courage and flourishing as oppose to a person who lies, cheats, and…show more content…

Moral relativism explains a point that when it comes to morals, right or wrong, people have their own opinion. Not everyone will think something is bad and not everyone will think something is good. The difference between moral relativism and virtue ethics is that actions do not matter. It is the type of person you are on the inside. Who you are on the inside will help you make righteous decisions, regardless of the circumstances. “An ethics focused on virtue encourages us to develop the good traits and get rid of the bad ones (Mackinnon).”
Virtue ethics was written by a Greek philosopher names Aristotle. Aristotle believed that every human’s goal was happiness. Some philosophers argued that happiness only came from following a set of rules, while Aristotle argued that the best way to have happiness is to cultivate a virtuous character. The two kinds of virtues he recognized were moral virtue and intellectual virtue. The virtue that should be focused on to develop a virtuous character is moral virtue. According to Aristotle, while we are born with a capacity to be virtuous, being virtuous is like a skill that we need to learn and practice to be good at. The key element to being virtuous is being able to find the mean or right amount of our various emotions, dispositions, and actions. Aristotle wrote: “Anybody can become angry- that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for

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Introduction To Ethics Essay


Ethics
“What are we like, and what should we do?”

     As humans we are faced with many decisions in life, which in and of itself, distinguishes us from the animal kingdom. I’m sure other animals make decisions, but as humans we take into account our values and morals. In choosing which path to take with some of life’s decisions, ethics, are often at the center; heavily influencing our choices between what is right and what is wrong. Which are usually defined by society, as to what is acceptable and what is not. As time goes on, society evolves, so do the right and wrongs, our values and morals, and ethics. In philosophy, there were three ethical theories by Aristotle, Kant, and Bentham & Mill and they were the “Golden Mean”, “Categorical Imperative”, and “Greatest Good for the Greatest Number” respectively.
     Aristotle believed the one goal everyone strived for was “happiness” for one’s ownself. If you were a happy person, that would eventually lead to being a good person. He also believed that all living things had certain capacities, and that if one lives up to their full capacities, they will have lived well and had a fortunate life. He went on to state that the perfection of reason leads to the development of two desirable “virtues”, Moral and Intellectual. Moral virtues dealt with emotions. A person must keep these in balance, to go in either extreme of too much and too little, would be called “the excess” and “the defect”, respectively. The balance would be the “mean”. For example, courage is the mean between rashness (excess) and cowardice (defect). The golden mean is further analyzed in NICOMACHEAN ETHICS. The RHETORIC, is where Aristotle sums up the three categories in an analogical description of life with the Youthful Man (excess), the Elderly Man (defect), and the Man in His Prime (golden mean).
     The Intellectual virtues dealt with foresight and wisdom. Aristotle stated the attainment of these virtues could only be done by a select few. For one to be highly intellectual, is to be practically divine, next to the gods. With that being said, it discouraged a lot of people of that era. That’s when his theory was challenged and questioned. What about the artists or craftsmen? Are they denied happiness, because they haven’t attained intellectual perfection? Is intellectual perfection the only path to happiness?
     This is where Kant’s theory of ethics opposed Aristotle’s. Whereas, Aristotle concentrates on attaining one’s own happiness through fulfillment of one’s capacity. Kant disagrees with, Good Will, as being the path to becoming a good person. The act of doing a “good” deed is defined by using one’s capacities and virtues in the service of duty, and not to gain personal satisfaction, but for “pure reason”. To carry out acts of good for reason alone, as it “dictates” and to go against desire or inclination. These...

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