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Explain The Alternative View To Virtue Ethics

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Introduction

Explain 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. ...read more.

Middle

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 becomes relatively easy to follow. But this realisation is not solely the property of virtue ethics; rule-based ethical systems too seek habituation of rules for the formation of character. As another example, consider that virtue theories often suggest that long lists of rules are impractical and that there is great simplicity or moral economy in offering a virtue-imperative. We might be told that "Love your wife!" requires much more of us than "Don't commit adultery, and spend time talking with your wife, and take your wife out on dates from time to time", etc., suggesting that typical rule-based theories simply cannot capture the full force of a virtue-imperative. ...read more.

Conclusion

Mill tells us that those actions are moral which maximise happiness and minimise harm for the greatest number. So, if you are contemplating a particular action, but are not sure whether your decision is a moral one, you could readily employ Mill's principle by asking whether it would in fact promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Virtue ethics wishes to avoid moral calculi for the determination of correct action. Virtue theorists emphasise the admitted difficulties of employing these formulae together with the suggestion that we ought to abandon them in favour of their alternative systems. We ought instead, we are told, to concentrate on the kinds of persons we ought to be, rather than the particular actions we should take. Since persons of appropriate moral character do good deeds, we would save ourselves the headaches of having to employ complicated theories especially if those theories do not often offer us very convincing results. A virtue theorist will try to show us that rule-following systems are open to more objections than that they are difficult to employ. Secondly, he will tell us that virtue ethics makes the whole task of living a moral life a good deal simpler and quite intuitive. ...read more.

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