Explain The Theory Of Virtue Ethics

1022 words - 4 pages

Aristotle originally introduced virtue Ethics to society in ancient Greek times. Virtue Ethics tells us that we should look at the character of the person instead of the actions or duties a person performs. Instead of concentrating on what is the right thing to do, virtue ethics asks how you can be a better person. Aristotle claims that leading a virtuous life is easy, and those who do, do so to be happy. Happiness is the ultimate goal for everyone in life.To become a better person, you must practice virtuous acts regularly. After a while, these acts will become routine and so the virtuous acts will be nothing more than everyday life and the person a virtuous person. Aristotle said that although virtues should become a habit we must never forget that we behave in such a way because it is right. For example, if a singer practices singing everyday, they will become better at it and used to doing it. This is the same as people who practice their virtues and soon automatically act in the right way, by practicing our skills we improve them, becoming happier. Virtues should not be an effort, but simply a part of everyone's personality. Aristotle says that virtue is something that we acquire and are not just born with, people are not inherently good or bad, but become good or bad according to the habits they develop.Aristotle said that a virtue was a 'Golden Mean' in between to vices. These 'Vices' are two extremes of a scale at opposite ends, one of excess and one of deficiency. For example the vices would be shamelessness and shyness, and the virtue modesty. Another example of this would be rudeness and a sense of humour as the two vices and the virtue as wittiness. Such virtues must be cultivated, we must learn when to use certain virtues and to what extent, for example we must not ever use humour in excess to act like a fool, but at the same time we must also not pass into rudeness.Two philosophers, Anscombe and MacIntyre say that there has been a mistake in how virtues have been portrayed. The majority of people look at the actions a person does to judge whether they are virtuous or not. The way in which we behave provides an opportunity for others to judge our virtues and vices. This however is not right. People should look at the character within and look at what the person believes is right and how they think they should help people instead of what they do to help. A famous example of a virtuous person is Mother Theresa. She helped millions of suffering people across the world and for this became well known as a virtuous person. There are hundreds of other virtuous people who would have liked to have helped but were unable to do so in such a huge way who are not considered as virtuous, but these people are just as virtuous but not recognised for it. Aristotle tells us that we are most likely to learn...

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