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Analyse the key features of Virtue Ethics and Deontology; to what extent is one a more practical method of resolving moral dilemmas than the other.

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Analyse the key features of Virtue Ethics and Deontology; to what extent is one a more practical method of resolving moral dilemmas than the other. The Greek philosopher Aristotle believed that all things and all human beings have a purpose or a function, telos. Virtue ethics is a teleological theory; it argues that we should practice being good or virtuous people over time. This is compared to deontological ethics, which is concerned with that there are certain types of acts that are wrong in themselves and that we have a duty not to complete these wrong acts. Virtue Ethics was developed by Aristotle, he rejected Plato's metaphysical account of goodness as a 'thing in itself', and Aristotle believed that goodness is natural and psychological. Therefore he puts forward 'aretaic ethics', derived from the Greek word ar�te which means excellence, stating that developing an excellent character is most important, rather than following a set of prescribed ethical norms like in some other ethical theories. Aristotle argued that every action that we perform is directed towards some sort of purpose, therefore we are always trying to achieve something, Aristotle then argued that there are different types of aims, superior and subordinate. ...read more.


There are modern philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe and Alasdair MacIntyre who give different interpretations of virtue ethics. Elizabeth Anscombe is not in favour of modern ethics, because is ignores virtues which are based on goodness. Alasdair MacIntyre argues in his book 'After Virtue' that virtues should be emphasised like in ancient societies, and says that the modern world would benefit from looking at values and a persons virtues. Deontology comes from the Greek word deon which means duty, this theory contrasts with consequentialism as well as teleological theories, because these judge the goodness of an action by looking at the consequences of an action. A deontologist believes in a priori moral statement, they use reason to decide on the moral principles before a situation takes place. Immanuel Kant was an 18th century German philosopher, he taught that being moral requires not just for one to follow their feelings, but that rational behaviour is also required. In his book Ground work of the metaphysics of morals Kant suggested that the moral law is objective, therefore it is true for everyone and it is said to be "synthetic a priori", this means that something may be true or false, but is not directly known from past experiences and that it is part of the rational mind. ...read more.


A second strength of virtue ethics is that it is flexible; this is because it is not based on absolute rules that can not be broken. Also virtue ethics allows for the virtues to differ between different cultures. Although there are some weaknesses to this theory such as it does not give clear rules on how to act in particular situations like deontology allows one to do. Virtue ethics does not address the problem of people doing bad things who think they are acting virtuously. A strength of deontological ethics is that Kant appeals to reason and the universal values, he also allows for everyone to be equal, whereas in utilitarianism the minority is segregated against. Although there are weaknesses to this theory, Peter Singer criticised Kant, because he removed emotions from ethics and Singer believes that people feelings are the most important part of the decision making process. Overall, to a large extent virtue ethics is a better way of resolving an ethically dilemma, because like Peter Singer suggests peoples feelings are a major part of the decision making process during a moral dilemma. Although deontological ethics does have its strengths and it rationalises an events it does not allow for exceptional circumstances. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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