Virtue Ethics :thinking_face: :medal: (Key Terms :bookmark_tabs: (Virtue:…
Virtue Ethics :thinking_face: :medal:
What is virtue ethics? :trophy:
Virtue ethics is an
normative ethical theory
, that is concerned with always trying to become a better person by doing what a virtuous person would do :smiley:.
What did Aristotle believe? :turtle:
:scroll:: There are 2 parts to the human soul; a
non rational soul
:scroll: Our emotions play a big role in helping us assess a moral situation.
:scroll: All humans have a telos (end goal) and that all humans want to bring about good consequences with their good actions.
:scroll: Aristotle believed that being virtuous must be practised. A good person is not good by doing one good deed but by consistently doing good deeds throughout their life.
:scroll: Some actions must be intrinsically right or wrong -this is what Aristotle calls the
Virtue ethics is a hybrid between teleology and deontology because every human has an end purpose to contribute to a
:tulip:and according to the
It was put forward by Aristotle in Greece 300BC in his book
(elite and politicians -men) :briefcase:, where virtues are very important. Because he is writing for rich men, some might say that his theory is limited and exclusionary. Links back to ancient Greek Literature, a society of hero where people where judged by their deeds.
Virtue ethics is an
normative ethical theory
, that is concerned with always trying to become a better person by doing what a virtuous person would do.
Key Terms :bookmark_tabs:
: A valued character trait.
: a state of total happiness achieved after completing theoria.
: Something is good when it completes its action.
: Greek word for virtue (aretaic ethics).
: Greek word for accomplishment.
Rational deliberation about what to do. Choice is always rational
: Something that is relative to an individual.
: A man of practical wisdom who we should all look up to in order to be virtuous.
: Wisdom that can be gained by practice and habit.
: The intellectual virtue of contemplation of the Divine.
: A type of pure reasoning where we reflect on the nature of the Divine.
What are the two types of virtues?
Moral Virtues :scales:
The Moral Virtues must be practised throughout our lives.
Moral virtues are not controlled but are
formed by habit
. To be virtuous a person must act through both knowledge of a situation and choice (since these qualities make up a virtue), and be voluntarily virtuous. They can do this by imitating a virtuous person.
Moral virtues are part of the
virtues. e.g. courage :crossed_swords: (in battle by overcoming fear), patience, kindness, modesty.
Intellectual Virtues :microscope:
These are theoretical virtues such as doing maths and science.
These are completely controlled by reason.
These are part of the
: has no mean so can never be the act of a virtuous person -
Eudimonia and The Function Argument
What is our telos?
What exactly is total happiness like?
Euidmonia is not pleasure -because even cattle can experience this :cow:. It is not honour or wealth because this is given to us by others and is easily lost. Aristotle's concept of how humans can live a good life with pleasure can only be fully understood through
Aristotle believes that
is a good life for humans.
Happiness is the highest virtue a human can achieve, reason is the highest thing within humans, scientific discoveries are the highest objects of knowledge and finally, contemplation gives us the greatest happiness.
Who can achieve eudaimonia?
To Aritsotle, telos can only be applied to the
because it allows reason, so only humans can reach eudimonia. Humans can achieve this in a life where reason has been exercised well and after completing theoria.
A life where reason has been exercised well means that virtues and moral excellence has been practised well.
Aritstole believed that
, a state of total happiness. Eudaimonia can only be achieved in a life where reason has been exercised well and after completing
. :smile: :four_leaf_clover:
Why can only humans reach Eudaimonia?
The function is dependant on the nature of the soul according to the '
hierarchy of the souls
'. This means that plants, animals and humans all have different functions because they have different souls.
which allows nutrition and growth.
which allows nutrition and growth, movement, perception and low level thought.
which allows nutrition and growth, movement, sense perception and reason.
says that something is good if it fulfils its purpose (like a tiger who bites its victims :tiger:). A humans function is fulfilled when they do good all their life.
How do we perform the virtues well?
doctrine of the mean
, Aristotle puts forwards the idea that virtues lie in the middle between two extremes;
All virtuous actions must be
and must have the
made using reason
Strengths and Weaknesses
Not suited to today society
For example, when Aristotle was talking about the virtue of courage, he was referring to courage in battle.
Furthermore, it cannot be applied to current moral issues like embryo research as virtues must be practised over a complete lifetime, but moral issues must be decided on immediately.
Rejects deontology, people will not do good unless there are consequences.
Virtuous people may seem dull.
On the other hand, virtue ethics is very suitable for our day to day lives, and development of practice skills (maths and science) as well as personality is encouraged, and eudaimonia helps society focus on their well-being and being happy -VE recognises the importance of human emotions.
VE does not claim that there is a perfect solution for everything but equips the moral agent with skills to deal with moral problems.
Not relative to all cultures
: as different societies may have different virtuous. Who should we follow as a role model?
Aristotle's function argument may not be true
: Aristotle claims that each part of the body has a specific function, and so our body as a whole must have a function. This performs the fallacy of composition (a defect in reasoning or an error in the conclusion due to a mistake made within the argument). Aristotle has no justification for this 'fact' and is assuming that the whole has the same quality of its constituent parts. For example, just because one state in the US likes KFC chicken, we cannot assume that the whole of america enjoys KFC.
Virtue ethics is too anthropocentric
: (too focused on the good of humans). New scientific studies show that animals are intelligent.
Others may argue that this is permissible because humans have a rational soul (hierarchy of the soul).
It values strength of moral character rather than following rules. This also means that there is less of a chance of rules conflicting as it is based on moral judgement. It is easy to follow a virtous persons example.
: Doctine of the mean
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”