Slides in this set
Virtue ethics goes back to Plato and Aristotle and does not focus on actions being
right or wrong, but how to be a good person. It identifies what makes a good
person and the qualities or virtues that make them good.
Agent-centred morality rather than act-centred.
The Greek word for virtue is arete which means excellence so a virtuous person
is one who does excellent things.
In moral decisions we want to be good and do the right thing, but like most
people we make the wrong decisions or get into trouble and from following
guidlines found in traditional ethical theories we feel like failures and are
disappointed. Virtue Ethics suggests that we should not focus on following
guidelines but aiming to become better people by developing positive character
Provides a way to develop and flourish as a person without persistent rule-
The way virtue ethics is understood is that as we develop virtues we will do
morally correct actions, which will in the end benefit society. So if everyone
develops the virtue of courage like a woman who has stopped a mugger
attacking an elderly woman, then society would be a better place as there'd be
fewer successful muggings.
These is an important with practicing virtues, if you want to become a great
athlete you can't just decide one day and expect it the next, it requires lots of
practice and dedication is vital.
Practice makes perfect
The way to achieve eudaimonia is to truly deserve it and to have worked
tirelessly to achieve it through the development of character traits.…read more
THE GOLDEN MEAN
The doctrine of the mean is central to the theory and Aristotle taught two
different vices that accompanied every virtue.
The golden mean is not a midpoint, but a judgement between two vices.
It finds the balance of the best way to live in society as extremes can be
The vice of deficiency is a distinct lack of virtue.
The vice of excess is entirely too much of the virtue.
The mean is not the same for everybody as it depends on the circumstance,
you need to apply phronesis. (practical reason)
Vice of deficiency Virtuous mean Vice of excess
Shamelessness Modesty Shyness
Cowardice Courage Rashness
Insensibility Temperance Self-indulance…read more
As virtue is acquired through doing, one way to learn how to be virtuous is to follow
examples of previous virtuous people
Socrates, Jesus, Ghandi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela are all possible examples
of moral excellence.
The examples of virtuous people are not expected to be illustrations of perfect
people, but there are a challenge for us to aspire to and become the best we
possibly can be.
In the Bible, Jesus encouraged his disciples that they should continue to do the
things he had done and to go on and do even greater things. Jesus' life was very
virtuous, he showed compassion to those who others rejected, he showed great
wisdom when dealing with the adulterous woman and great patience with disciples.
Young Christian believers often wear jewelry or something which contains the letter
WWJD (what would Jesus do) to encourage them to follow his virtuous steps.…read more