Key features of Virtue Ethics

Will cover main features of Virtues Ethics: Virtue, phronesis and Eudaimonia


Virtue Ethics is a tradition of thinking which dates back back to Aristotle & Plato it was dominant approach in western moral philosophy till 18th century. Have been revival attempts  by Anscombe " Modern Moral Philosophy"It is also know as Arete (Greek word) referring to excellence/ virtue.

According to V.E the heart of morality is not found in actions but in person performing actions.V.E highlights morality should focus on the person and not necessarily on the choicesindividual makes in their moral behavior.

Ethical question should not be whether  action is right but if person is good person?

Virtue Ethics has three central concepts : Virtue, Phronesis and Eudaimonia


  • A virtue is a positive trait valued as a foundation & good moral being.
  • Virtues e.g. honesty in not just tendency to do what is honest it is trait well entrenched in possessor unlike a habit.
  • Possess virtue is to be certain sort of person with complete mindset (Sreenivasan) added Can't be judged as virtuous based on single action because we don't know reason for action. If someone is honest only because think honesty best policy or fear being caught  out rather than through recognizing  to do otherwise would be dishonest theses are not actions of honest person.
  • ( Athanassoulis) added to to possess such a dispostion is to possess perfect virtue which is rare. as  fully virtuous do what they should without struggle against contrary desires.
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I think some of the notes have been cut off from the notes.

Thank you,

Megan (moderator)

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