Virtue Ethics

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  • Created by: Chloe
  • Created on: 07-01-15 10:29

It is an old theory dating back to Aristotle and Plato. It does not focus on what the right thing/act to do is byt rather on how to be a good person.

Virtue Ethics is agent centred morality so it focuses on the person doing the action rather than the action itself.


The main points of his virtue theory are:

  • The goal of Eudaimonia - A Greek term meaning Human happiness, flourishing and fulfilment.
  • Being part of a virtuos community
  • Virtues are to be found at The Golden Mean - the right balance between two vices (extremes)
    Living a life of virtue means developing a good character
  • You develop virtues through habit
  • We mist follow the example of virtuous people, e.g. Gandhi, Mother Theresa ect
  • Two types of virtue: Intellectual (developed by training and education) and Moral (developed by habit)

Aristotle claimed that the life of contemplation and wisdom is the greastest of all the virtues and the highest form of happiness - he only considered a community of males, excluding women and children. He asusmed that everyone wanted to live 'the good life' (Eudaimonia)

Eudaimonia is the highest good because it is sought for its own sake and nothing else. The best and happiest life involves living well in a community, respecting everyone's interests as well as your own. It is a theory that is focuses on virtues which contribute towards making society Polis - A community that embraces all other communities and is concerned with the common good (also known as koinonia).

The Golden Mean

The best way to achieve eudaimonia is to develop and exercise those qualities that are most productive for living in society. Virtue was to be found in the Golden Mean; the right balance between two extremes (vices);

Vice of Excess                                            Virtuous Mean                                   Vice of Deficiency

Rashness                                                       Courage                                             …


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