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Virtue Ethics Essay

1187 words - 5 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 steals. There are ways to distinguish virtue ethics from divine command, egoism, and moral relativism. In the divine command theory morality is determined by the will or command of God meaning whatever Gods says must be right at all times while the virtue ethics theory is about great attributes and character formation, not a list of dos and don’ts. In egoism, one’s self, motivations, and goals is the only thing that matters. The only duty of someone who is an egoist is to do what is best for them and what is in their best interest. Egoistical people do not mind helping or doing things for other but they first consider how it will affect them then they look at how it will affect someone else. While this may seem unethical or immoral to others, they do this to stay out of trouble by not lying, harming others, and avoiding fines and tickets they are looking out fr these because it is not in their best interest. Virtue ethics focuses on how to be a good person all around. It is more concerned with who the person should become rather than their actions but who has a character that will allow them to make the right decisions all of the time. 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...

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