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Virtue Ethics Applied
Aristotle a greek philosopher in the 4th century B.C was an empiricist who noticed that
"Everything in nature has a purpose" (telos). This is embedded in our soul. Human purpose is to live
rationally and living rationally is living by the virtues which leads to Eudaimonia and we flourish. A
virtue is defined as a character trait or quality valued as being good and of itself. Aristotle named 12
moral virtues (gained by habit) and 9 intellectual virtues (gained through instruction and learning).
Virtue ethics is practical since it is relevant to everyday life not just moral dilemmas.
Bio-fuels was introduced as a way to cut down on the pollution which was produced from
normal petrol. Nowadays petrol has 2.5% of bio fuels in it. However it has been recently discovered
that bio fuels harms the environment. Rainforests in South America are being cut down to make sugar
cane as this is the easiest way of getting bio-fuel. But by doing this, along with the production of it
accounts to more CO2 emissions that it saves. 30million people in Bangladesh may go without food
due to this production and usage of bio-fuels. This example shows there to be a lack of wisdom,
intelligence and justice since it wrongly predicted the outcome of using bio fuels. Secondly, no
courage is shown because they continue to use and produce it rather than owning up and admitting
that they are wrong. The doctrine of the mean can also be applied particularly well in this case as the
lack of courage means that it shows cowardice (the deficiency vice for courage). There is no proper
ambition as this production of bio fuels is causing hunger in Bangladesh. Lastly, some might say that
they show no truthfulness because they knew that the use and production of bio fuels wouldn't help
the environment but they knew that they could earn lots of money from it.
Tearfund created the "Lift the Label Scheme" which consisted of putting the fair trade logo
on items of clothing. This strategy shows a great deal of courage because it goes against the norm.
Tearfund have created something completely different to the standard fair-trade items. Obviously
this act shows huge amounts of friendliness as it is helping others, literally being friendly to others.
Moreover the friendliness is very strong because Tear-fund don't actually know the people who
produce the clothes yet are willing to help them. Truthfulness is evident because it shows the
customers how the clothing has got there (shop floor) and so consumers now know who they're
buying from and where part of their money is going. Finally, this scheme clearly shows
righteous-indignation because it's responding to the injustice. Tearfund understands how unfair it is
for the producers to receive the amount of money for which they do.
Department for International Development (DFID) are supposedly meant to help the LEDCs.
However, in Zambia DFID spent just £700,000 on improving nutrition and £56million of privatising
copper mines. In Ghana, the department made its aid payments for upgrading the water system
conditional on partial privatisation. In this selfish act from the DFID there is no friendliness as they're
barely even helping the poor. It also shows no truthfulness but more understatement (the deficiency
virtue for truthfulness shown in Aristotle's doctrine of the mean) as it not only puts money before
people, but it is also trying to build a reputation as being very generous when they clearly aren't. This
last point emphasises the lacking of magnanimous and magnanimity.
The Fairtrade Foundation aims to give justice to the producers and farmers who make
products and are sold to MEDCs at a lower price than they should be. They work towards giving them
the money which they deserve. This shows righteous indignation because it aims to sort out the
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Proper ambition is also present because of the success of the charity in number
of sales and also how it has helped the poor farmers and producers. For example in 1999 the
revenue from Coffee was £13.7 million whereas in 2009 it was £157 million. Again there is
friendliness through helping the poor and courage as it goes against the norm and if fighting hard to
find justice.…read more
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Firstly, there is no courage because they are
not owning up and admitting that they were wrong. Instead they continue to lie and produce the
bio-fuels. This clearly shows a lack of honesty. Thirdly, there is no justice. The company producing it is
not being fair to the community and more importantly to the environmentalists who put in lots of
effort to saving the environment when this company continues to produce and manufacture stuff
which is harming the environment.…read more