Virtue ethics

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Origins

Plato and Aristotle do not focus on actions being right or wrong but how to be a good person. Agent centred not act centred.

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Plato and Virtue

Not judging particular actions. Achievements of men's highest good. Cultivation of the soul and harmonious being of their life. Happiness is to be attained from pure virtue, cardinal virtues are central and include courage and justice. If in balance a person's actions are good.

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Aristotle and virtue

Structure of morality is about engaging in ethics to become good. Distinguished between things that are good for a means and good as an ends. Eudaimonia is the ultimate goal. Central to description of good are the different virtues. Humans are rational and social beings and so should live in harmony. We live in groups and well being of the group is more important than that of the individual.

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Acquiring Virtues

Aristotle saw two types of virtues (intellectual and moral). Intellectual virtues are dewveloped by training and education whereas moral virtues are developed by habit. Being Virtutous needs teaching and practise to do well. We are all capable of being virtuous and need to get into the habit from a young age. Despite all having the capability only a few will achieve this. Aristotle said these people are philosophers and they are effected by environmental factors.Achieving eudaimonia used reason which is the supreme human virtue as it includes moral sense. Reason is practical and involves understanding and responding.

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The Golden Mean

Virtue is found within. Balance of the two means. Extremes are harmful to society. Mean depends on circumstance. Phronesis must be applied to decide on a course of action.Phronesis is acquired as we grow and move away from demands of authority figures to make a more autonomous person it is central on morality

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Examples of Virtuous people

Learn how to be virtuous through following virtuous people. Nelson Mandela and Ghandi are often used as examples of virtuous people. Not all perfect people but challenge us to go beyond our minimum and aspire to moral highness. Novels and films which show destructive characters losing their integrity

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Modern Virtue ethics

20th Century revival philosophers were unhappy with act centred ethics. Assessment of a person's characters is important for ethical thoughtb and needs to be included in ethical theory

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GEM Anscombe and virtue ethics

1958 published a paper putting forward the idea that modern philosophy is misguided Can there be morals if there is no God(belief in)? Idea of eudaimonia does not depend on God. Kant/utilitarian act based ethical theories and ignore the person neglect the community and this is a crucial asect of morality

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Phillipa Foot

Modernised Aristotle recognised the importqance of the reasoning and practice of virtue Benefit the individual by leading to flourishing Virtues are good for us and help us correct harmful human passions

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Alasdair Macintyre

people no longer believe in moral faculties/truths as they are too varied. Most attitudes are based on emotivism, Moral statements express feelings. Morality ditched in favour of telos. Human virtues depends on community community share practices cultivate virtue, homeric virtues-= strength and honour and Aristolian virtues=justice. All evolve over time. Any virtue which sustain household communitites seek goodness together opposes individualism

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Rosalind Hursthouse

Aristotelian framework defends claims that virtues are virtues because they lead to eudaimonia virtues shape practical reasoning virtues most reliable path to flourishing

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Michael slote

Based on common sense and intuition. Admirable better than good=needs qualifying. Virtue is not an inner trait or disposition of the individual. Virtue equals balanced caring. Explanantion of agent focused and agent based. Agent focused understand moral life and what it is to be virtuous (inner dispositions) agent based evaluate inner llife and motive. Mnay traits we find admirable identify looking at those we admire, care and empathy = motive is more than the community

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Feminism

Annette Baler said that men think of morality in terms of autonomy and ther masculine traits such as physical strength. Women view morality from a more caring aspect. Ethics takes account for natural bias' such as maternal feling. Ethics of caring not always explicitly linked to virtues.

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strengths

Avoids use of a formula

undestand distingush from good people to legalist

stress motivation of making people be good

tells us how to learn moral principles

integrates many aspects of life

good to be biased in the case of friends adn family

does not pretend to know all possible situations

stresses the importance of character

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Weaknesses

Virtues are culturally relative

How virtues applicable to moral dilemmas

praises some virtues we may see as immoral

virtuous acts on the outside may not have a good motivation

virtue ethics does not have a view on what makes things right or wrong

dependant on the final ends

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Application-Sexual ethics

Ask how a person acts virtuously over an extended period of time=sexual relationships. Not bout decisions but the person who is making them. Presumes right and wrong within sexual conduct

Consider which sexual practises make a person virtuous sex expression of union and sharing. One's own end not compatible with virtue. Treat a person with dignity not compatible with *********** and prostitution. Intimare care=humanitarian care=self care is needed. Fidelity is key do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of implicates tolerance rediscover human sexulaity the balance of

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