The Alternative View To Virtue Ethics
Virtue theory is the view that the foundation of morality is the
development of good character traits, or virtues. A person is good,
then, if he has virtues and lacks vices. Some virtue theorists mention
as many as 100 virtuous character traits, which contribute to making
someone a good person.
Virtue theory places special emphasis on moral education since
virtuous character traits are developed in one's youth; adults,
therefore, are responsible for instilling virtues in the young. The
failure to properly develop virtuous character traits will result in
the agent acquiring vices or bad character traits instead. Vices
include cowardice, insensibility, injustice, and vanity.
Virtue ethics says that it is not only important to do the right
thing, but also to have the required dispositions, motivations, and
emotions in being good and doing right. We should enjoy doing good
because we are good. It isn't only about action but also about
emotions, character, and moral habits.
The virtues are Excellencies of character. Traditionally, they have
been divided into two types: moral and nonmoral virtues. Moral ones
being; honesty, benevolence, non-malevolence, fairness, kindness,
conscientiousness and others like thatâ€¦ Nonmoral virtues being;
courage, optimism, rationality, self-control, patience, endurance and
The exact classification of various virtues is debatable. The nonmoral
virtues generally are considered as contributing to the moral life but
also as more easily expropriated for immoral purposes.
Even though most of the virtue systems don't deny that there are
principles of action that serve as action guidelines. These entities
are not the essence of morality. Likewise, even though it is sometimes
appropriate to reason about what to do, such deliberating should also
give significant attention to feelings such as sympathy and loyalty.
The exemplar model of virtue ethics comes into focus in two different
ways; either through an examination of ideal types of persons or
through following someone that is an ideal type.
Some of the attractiveness that virtue theories enjoy is due to a
misunderstanding of rival moral theories. Advocates of virtue ethics
sometimes offer self-characterisations that make them appear to offer
advantages that are in fact shared by rival, sophisticated moral
theories. For example, some virtue theories tell us to habituate rule
following, because we want to develop character, or an internalisation
of the rules, a goal, which is allegedly unique to the virtue theory.
But in fact this is hardly different from many rule-emphasis theories.
Once we commit ourselves to a particular kind of moral action, once we
have habituated ourselves to choosing it, we typically find that it