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How Does Virtue Ethics apply to Business Ethics?

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Edward Cohen How Does Virtue Ethics apply to Business Ethics? As with all forms of ethics, whilst written about in a general sense the ethical thought appear a feasible process and an appropriate way to act and behave, it however needs to stand up against certain moral issues to 'test' its fallibility. Business ethics would be one such example. Aristotle, the farther of virtue ethics felt community care is the reason for the market system. A business would be selfless economic structure and ethos. Aristotle's word, 'oikonomikos' is used to show this household trading and community-based economy Virtue ethics as described by Aristotle has a central thesis of improving oneself to be a better person. If everyone strives to do this then the world would become a more productive and moral environment to live in. He argues that the rational side of he soul which revolves around intellectual values is the side which should be cared for by the individual. He argues that virtue ethics is 'at variance with the central feature of the modern economic order.' He feels 'internal goods' are the most important to produce, these are unique to a particular activity which use 'analytic skill, strategic imagination and competitive intensity.' ...read more.


Others may say he is a bad man, a former terrorist who has led to his country to be just as racist against white people and when in office sold arms to militant groups around the world leading to genocide and death. Clearly this will not suffice; we must already know who is good for this to work. Joseph Fletcher may argue here that Jesus can be seen for this role model and his virtues of peace, love and charity can be emulated by people. Whilst it is clear from the New Testament that Jesus is a virtuous person, can we really be sure that the accounts of him are accurate of his personality, it is more faith that a person of this description exists and so would be an unsuitable role model for us to follow as it may be unattainable. Other theorists have argued we can personally figure out what an excellent human life is, once we find out what it means to be the greatest human possible, we discover what virtues are needed. Again this is hard for someone to figure out what it is to be the greatest human. ...read more.


So whilst Kant tries to emphasize the importance of autonomy, it does not go far enough according to virtue ethics which far from having a right or wrong answer the individual has to find out what he feels is right. Utilitarianism, along with Kantian and situation ethics all give you the supposed 'choice' of what to do that you must figure out. Virtue ethics goes farther than this and broadens your morals to family, friends, statesmen and respected persons, expanding your moral understandings by learning from others. When natural law clearly spells out that according to the theory, murder is wrong, virtue ethics aims to improve your character and soul. By living a virtuous life it would be a natural progression to realize murder is wrong. In conclusion as with all moral codes it has its downfalls and so is probably not the answer for mankind and although has the 'upper hand' over some issues, it seems woefully inadequate in others. The main point is that it puts too much emphasis on man which for many would be a hard task to achieve optimum morality. The code is elitist and although it appears that man can look inside himself and his experiences to know what is right and wrong often people need a code or guide to ensure they are on the right track. ...read more.

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