Virtue Ethics - A2 Theology

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  • Created on: 05-06-13 14:04
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Virtue Ethics
Everything has a final cause, the good at which it aims.
So he concluded there must be a `highest good' at which all human activity aims.
A happy person will grow a personality appropriately balanced between reason
and desires.
Aristotle, Habit and the Golden Mean
The balance of reason and desires can be achieved through the application of
virtue ethics.
Practicing virtuous behaviour until it becomes habit.
The `right amount' or a behaviour is called the Golden Mean.
Vice of excess (too much)
Vice of deficiency (too little)
By doing virtuous things we become virtuous.
For example;
Vice of deficiency Golden Mean Vice of excess
Coward Courage Reckless
Arrogant Modesty Self deprivation
Perfect balance of a quality = good people.
Certain societies make it difficult to achieve the right amount of a quality.
`Human flourishing'
Supreme goal of human life
If you are virtuous and moral you will flourish as a person and achieve
Having friends, wealth and power are essential to this.
Essentially eudaimonia is being happy, content and successful by achieving well
in every area of your life.
Encourages hedonistic views
Makes sense to be rewarded for moral behaviour
Can't prioritise which aspect of our life we wish to flourish in.
Agent Centred Nature
Virtue Ethics is based on the person acting, rather than on the act or
If we accept virtue ethics, we will constantly strive to become better people,
whilst accepting that we are not perfect and will make mistakes.
Developing good people rather than focusing on act or consequence.
Makes sense to cultivate good people
Some people don't have knowledge or skills to know what makes them good people
Doesn't have enough guidance.
Moral Virtues: developed by habit. Being part of society, being selfless.
Friendships are important because you can admire each others characteristics.
Courage, temperance (moderation), liberality (being liberal), munificence

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Intellectual Virtues: qualities of mind developed through instruction. Practical
skill, knowledge, common sense, intuition, wisdom, resourcefulness,
understanding, judgement, cleverness.
Cardinal Virtues: work together, one alone is not enough. Temperance,
courage, wisdom, justice.
William Wilberforce
Virtuous. Was a good man although he was addicted to opium.
Courage, patience, magnanimity, munificence, compassion, selflessness.
Allows us to see the example of moral people and select aspects of their behaviour to
Role models are not perfect, not striving to be something that's impossible.…read more

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De-emphasizes rules, consequences and particular acts.
Depends on the concept of duty.
Doesn't provide answers to specific moral dilemmas such as euthanasia.
Sometimes difficult to determine who is virtuous because acts that appear virtuous
may have bad motives.
No universal virtue theory is possible, because what people deem to be virtuous is
unique to them.…read more


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