• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how Virtue ethics might be applied to issues raised by sexual relationships.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain how Virtue ethics might be applied to issues raised by sexual relationships. According to the theory of virtue ethics, the heart of morality is not found in actions, or in duties, but in the person performing the actions, the 'agent'. In other words, morality should concentrate on the person, and not necessarily on the choices they make in their moral behaviour. Ethical questions, therefore, should not debate whether a decision is morally right, but whether the individual is a good person. As a result, virtue ethics considers the personal character of the agent as primary importance: morality is involved with developing one's own virtues in order to become the right kind of person. Virtue ethics, does not ask 'what is the right thing to do?' but 'what sort of person should I aim to become?' It concentrates on being, rather than on doing, and in this way contrasts with other forms of ethics, such as Utilitarianism (the 'greatest happiness for the greatest number') and the Categorical Imperative (Kant), which aim to show how to discover the right course of action. ...read more.

Middle

However, in contrast, Plato considered that 'virtue' is 'knowledge' (which is gained by accessing the Realm of the Forms), and that no one willingly acted immorally: individuals acted wrongly due to ignorance (represented by the analogy of the cave), and if they could be brought to understand their error and to appreciate and understand what is 'right', then they would act accordingly - this approach is based on the Socratic concept that no one would choose what was 'not good' for one's self for the reason that if one commits a bad act then one harms one soul. In view of the information outlined above, it is apparent that by applying the theory of virtue ethics to issues raised by sexual relationships, the underlying factor in any such situation will concern promoting the concept of 'developing one's own virtues in order to become a better person'. However, by following this premise, one may argue that there is a direct contradiction, as what one may feel is right in order to become a better person, may not necessarily correspond to 'what the right thing to do is'. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, in certain parts of India it used to be considered honourable and virtuous for a woman to throw herself onto her husband's funeral pyre and be burned to death with his body: such action in western democratic societies would be viewed upon as deplorable and immoral. Finally (as opposed to the statement outlined directly above), it may also be contended that virtue ethics is a very self-centred approach towards morality, on the grounds that it encourages putting oneself first, and choosing a course of action that will be the most beneficial to one's own character, with another person's needs coming second. In conclusion, although there are several advantages and disadvantages of applying the theory of virtue ethics to such issues as sexual relationships, my personal view is that such difficulties and differences (as highlighted above) must be resolved if virtue theory is to work in practice - this may involve using certain principles from other ethical systems such as utilitarianism or Kantian ethics in order to do so. Nevertheless, it must be remembered that virtue ethics raises the importance of the individual when many other ethical theories simply address acts and consequences. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Ethics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Ethics essays

  1. What is the relationship between religion and morality?

    In countries where religion has been suppressed- such as in Stalin's Russia and Hitler's Nazi Germany, horrendous injustices and crimes still look place. Perhaps immorality has more to do with human nature than a set of beliefs with a supernatural element.'

  2. Aristotle - Virtue Ethics Essay

    Aristotle's word, 'oikonomikos' is used to show this household trading and community-based economy. Chrematisike however, is trading for profit, and Aristotle did not approve of this as it promoted individualism and turned people away from the community and their path of virtue.

  1. Explain how Macintyre's or Aristotle's account of a life lived in accordance with virtues ...

    A consumer society is one which defines itself in terms of consumption rather than production. It is a society in which we do not work to live, but work to shop, and where shopping is an 'experience' not based upon need but on desire and pleasure.

  2. Explain the significance of Plato's analogy of the cave. Is it of relevance to ...

    A summary of the dialogue, though, is needed if one is to truly interpret and explain it. Imagine a cave which has a ling enough entrance to prevent any light from reaching the actual cave. Within the cave lined up are a group of prisoners who are all sitting with

  1. Explain how a Hindu marriage service might guide a couple in their married life?

    She will be send back to her father or brothers, who will often try to find a second marriage for her. Because of the social stigma attached to divorce. Many Hindu couple prefer to stay together even though they dislike each other.

  2. Explain how Aristotle and Alasdair Macintyre applied Virtue Theory to moral decision making?

    When discussing virtues we need to understand what forms of virtues there are. Aristotle identified the two types of virtues. These were intellectual (developed through training), and moral virtues (developed through habit). These types of virtues will be achieved through the golden mean.

  1. Virtue Ethics

    However, Rosalind Hursthouse said in response to this; that in a difficult in all theories in what to do when faced with real situation. Virtue ethics requires wisdom and knowledge; you have to respond to a situation with all of yourself.

  2. Compare and contrast Plato and Aristotle on the acquisition of ethical understanding.

    For instance, in the world of the particulars, someone could identify something that they think is beautiful. This is their own opinion and by no means knowledge. A philosopher, however, would be able to acknowledge the form of beauty itself.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work