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Virtue ethics is of little practical use to someone faced with a moralproblem. Discuss.

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Introduction

b) Virtue ethics is of little practical use to someone faced with a moral problem. Discuss. A woman has 4 children. Her house is on fire. She has already saved 3 of the children but there is one child left in the house. Should she go into the burning house and risk losing her life and leaving the other 3 children behind without a mother? Which would be the more moral thing to do? Virtue Ethics would tell the woman to do what a good person would do. Robert Louden writes that 'We ought, of course, to do what the virtuous person would do, but it is not always easy to fathom what the hypothtical moral exemplar would do were hge in our shoes...' ...read more.

Middle

It is too hard to be dependant upon virtue ethics when faced with a moral dilema. The mean may be too hard to find, and sometimes there may not even be a mean, for example promise-keeping, compassion and loyalty are inherently good. They don't seem to lie between two extremes. However, some people would argue that virtue ethics would come in very useful when a person is facing a moral dilema. For example, in the case of when a mother is deciding whether or not to have an abortion, she has time to think over her problem and can think of the various outcomes and things she could do. One virtue is compassion, and so if the woman is compassionate about having the abortion, then her decision must be virtuous. ...read more.

Conclusion

It could be better for the woman not to have the baby because the child could be brought into a life where it couldn't be looked after properly. It all depends on the situation. Another example is considering whether the war on Iraq is moral. Is it just to kill 10 000 people in Iraq in order to stop Saddam Husein from ruling? We have to consider the whole situation - we know that Saddam Husein could be in possession of nuclear weapons therefore it would be more moral to try to stop him in whatever way we can. Overall I think that dependant on the situation, virtue ethics would be of some use to someone facing a moral dilema, as they give an all-round view on the situation and make sure that the outcome will be a virtuous one. ...read more.

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