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

Explain The Alternative View To Virtue Ethics

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. Aristotle - Virtue Ethics Essay

    should have the drive to do what will benefit oneself and one's character. Therefore, for Aristotle, by giving to charity and not exploiting workers in a business by underpaying them or providing them with poor working conditions, would benefit one's character because the right choice has been made, and is one more step closer to virtue.

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

    Macintyre's views are deeply critical of many of the same notions, like Aristotle's. However, he also attempts to give an account of virtue. He believed that there was a destruction of moral conduct after the 18th century enlightenment. As such he rejected the three divisions formed after this enlightenment.

  1. Aristotle's Virtue Ethics

    result of building well and bad ones as a result of building badly'. Through practising these virtues of character - generosity, kindness, and bravery - we will eventually possess a virtuous character, and will therefore have the ability to lead a flourishing life.

  2. Virtue Ethics

    'Virtue Ethics is of little practical use to someone faced with a moral problem'. Discuss On the surface, it appears that virtue ethics is a plausible theory; however, when analysed this is not the case. Virtue ethics only concentrates on what a person should be and what is that makes a person good, rather than determining what is good.

  1. With reference to abortion, examine and comment on the view that the sanctity of ...

    to gain a real insight into the opinions of various groups, their reasoning for their views must be analysed. First of all, perhaps the largest force, in Britain and Europe at least, is the Catholic Church. The "rule-book", if you like, for the Catholic Church is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  2. Problems with Utilitarian and Kantian Ethics.

    We are presented with the case of the scientist who has killed his wife just before he discovers the cure for cancer. Utilitarianism would allow the scientist to go on with his studies in order to find the cure before he is jailed, because his cure would improve the lives

  1. Religion and Medical Ethics

    medicine to bring family life, which all Muslims are expected to have. Muslims also agree with infertility as long as the egg and the sperm are from the mother and father (using AIH and IVF, which is the same as the Christians believe).

  2. 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.

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