Virtue Ethics

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Virtue Ethics
Aristotle's theory of virtue ethics is teleological; he believes we should focus on the
outcome of every act. The outcome of these actions should be influential further than
the immediate consequences of the action.
He believed living well and being happy were the ultimate purpose, and would
ultimately lead to Eudaimonia. He saw this happiness in three forms;
Happiness as a life of enjoyment or pleasure
Happiness as a free member of society
Happiness as a philosopher
Having a basis of good character traits will enable humans to make good choices
and live a good life, subsequently making yourself and those around you feel happy
and fulfilled.
Aristotle created the term `eudaimonia', which he uses to describe the ultimate
happiness humans will have if they have lived a fulfilling and virtuous life, however
people only experience eudemonia in the afterlife; this is humans' final cause.
Aristotle's virtues
Aristotle believed there were particular virtues which that we should incorporate into
our lives in order to ultimately achieve Eudaimonia and allow us to be moral and
virtuous people.
He grouped them into two categories;
Moral virtues ­ qualities of a character which can only be developed through
experience and habit
Intellectual virtues ­ qualities of the mind which are developed in someone
through education and instruction
Moral virtues Intellectual virtues
Courage Judgement
Temperance Prudence
Patience Resourcefulness
truthfulness Understanding

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Four cardinal virtues
While Aristotle proposed a list of virtuous traits, he believed there were four crucial
virtues which a person should have to be truly virtuous.…read more

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The motivation for following a virtue must be to produce moral action. The key to
finding the mean is through using our reason, however some actions do not have a
mean therefore it is useless searching for one.…read more

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Trade for profit ­ Aristotle believed this business was completely lacking in
virtue; if trade is done purely for profit, there is no virtuous value from the
profit gained.
However, Aristotle does believe that the business where people work is the polis
where some friendships are made, where some values are formed and where we
seek to achieve Eudaimonia.
Being a virtuous person also involves following virtuous role models, for example our
employees.…read more

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Sexual Ethics ­ Pre-marital/Extramarital Sex
Virtue ethics considers not the action, but the sort of person that engages in
pre-marital and extra-marital sex, and whether this should help them to become a
virtuous person living in a virtuous society.
Sexual practices that develop a loving relationship will make a person more virtuous,
whereas those practices that use and exploit others would lead a person to be less
virtuous.…read more


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