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

Virtue Ethics Notes

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐VIRTUE ETHICS ? INTRODUCTION TO ETHICS WHAT IS IT? * Virtue ethics is a type of moral theory that emphasises the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to approaches that emphasise duties (deontology) or consequences (consequentialism). * This is the main approach to ethics taken by ancient thinkers (e.g. Aristotle [384-322 BC] in his Nicomachean Ethics). * A virtue-ethical account of moral rightness: An act is right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent (i.e., a person with excellent character traits) would characteristically (i.e., acting in character) do in the circumstances. * What sort of person should I be in order to ?live well? or ?flourish? as the kind of being I am (to possess eudaimonia)? ARISTOTLE * Aristotle: what we need, in order to live well, is a proper appreciation of the way in which such private and social goods as friendship, pleasure, virtue, honour and wealth fit together as a whole, and the ability to sustain an appropriate balance of such goods, by using reason. ...read more.


* To possess virtue is to be a certain sort of person with a certain complex mindset, a person who is able to discern the right thing to do, to feel motivated to do it, and hence to do it. * A virtue (including the attendant emotions) is not just a pattern of action but a ?way of seeing? the world and reasons for action in a certain way. FOUR KINDS OF MORAL AGENTS: * The virtuous do the right thing and get pleasure from doing so. * The strong-willed (the ?enkratic?) have to go against their inclinations to do the right thing, but do so through strength of will. * The weak-willed (the ?akratic?) recognise what?s good and right, but do the wrong thing against their better judgement because of stronger contrary inclinations. * The vicious are so twisted that they do the wrong thing and mistakenly think that it?s good of them to do so. ...read more.


* Nietzsche: Aristotle encourages insipid moderation in all things. This restricts the possibilities open to the soul. * Response: not so ? the mean is rarely at the exact mid-point between two vices. * Aristotle?s rule of thumb: the virtue is likely to lie further away from the vice towards which humans naturally tend. HOW DO WE TRANSFORM INCLINATIONS: * Aristotle: our feelings and emotional reactions are central to the moral life. We become good by transforming them. * How can we ? as full but less than fully virtuous moral agents ? apply this model to our own lives? Or is it too late for us? * Aristotle: it?s too late for the vicious; their characters are distorted in ways that take them beyond the pale. * Do as the virtuous person would do. Train yourself over time to be not just generous, but naturally generous (etc. etc.) and try to be sensitive to how all these qualities fit together with other valuable things in life. ...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. Christian Views on Wealth & poverty

    Jesus regurarly was shown conversing with these people who were looked down upon in society. This parable teaches Christians to love and to take care of everyone. Even outcasts in society (the Jew was a outcast in the Samaritan's society).

  2. Aristotle - Virtue Ethics Essay

    In the same way regarding Aristotelian ethics, is the mean found merely through pure reason and through observing prudent people?

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

    To what extent is Virtue Theory a useful method of moral decision making? (17) Virtue theory is widely used today in terms of moral decision making. The main contributors to this theory are Aristotle and Macintyre, to name a few.

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

    One main difference between Plato and Aristotle is obvious at this point. Due to Plato believing that only philosophers can have access to the Forms, only philosophers therefore can have ethical understanding. Whereas Aristotle's theory that virtues can be learned by habit, which can be argued to be the foundations of ethical understanding, ethics therefore can be acquired by anyone.

  1. Are all human actions motivated by self-interest?

    It is important to make one thing absolutely clear at this point. Psychological egoism is not saying that all people behave selfishly. They would not deny that people help others, donate to charity or will give a kidney to somebody who will die if they didn't.

  2. Virtue Ethics

    but it is not always as easy to fathom what the hypothetical moral exemplar would do were he in our shoes". Virtue ethics at first glance is seen to be a good ethical theory but really it is too rigid.

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

    Consumerism is concerned with appearances, creating an image, an identity, or several different identities which are defined by what we wear, what we possess, what we spend our money on, where we go on holiday, where we live - but not who we are.

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

    is a girl because of the pressure to have sons rather than daughters. This goes against Hindu teaching and some Indian states have banned clinics from running tests that predict the sex of the child. His being is the source of all being, the seed of all things that in this life have their life...

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