Religious Ethics: Virtue Ethics

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  • Created by: Charlotte
  • Created on: 21-05-13 14:37

Virtue ethics is an alternative approach to morality that enables people to achieve their potential as human beings and not to have to focus on their rightness/wrongness of their actions, as it is an agent-centred approach. Instead, it provides a way to develop character ad to flourish as a person without following persistent rules.

Aristotle believes that our superior aim is to achieve the supreme good, which is happiness. For Aristotle, happiness/fulfilment was the goal and purpose of life. He saw happiness as: a life of enjoying please, a free member of society and a philosopher.

In order to achieve this happiness, or eudaimonia, he believed we had to practise skills or virtues to achieve happiness and live good lives. The basis of morality is to have a firm foundation of good and positive character traits and no negative traits or virtues.

There are three types of virtues: moral, intellectual and cardinal virtues. Intellectual virtues are developed by training and educating yourself, such as learning to play piano. Moral virtues are developed by practice and habit, for example, learning to be compassionate. To practice the cardinal values was considered to live a flourished life, making you closer to achieving eudaimonia. These virtues were: temperance and moderation, justice, courage…


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