Utilitarianism and duty ethics aim to answer whether an action is morally right or wrong based on the consequences of the action and the action’s adherence to rules or duties, respectively. On the other hand, Aristotle’s virtue ethics focuses on one’s character and the virtues that one’s character embodies rather than the morality of their actions. The emphasis of virtue ethics is “on becoming a morally good person as opposed to acting in a moral manner” (Kremer). Whereas morally right actions are based on ideal character traits or virtues, morally wrong actions arise from bad character traits or vices. Aristotle used three Greek concepts to describe a virtuous person. Telos means function, purpose, end, or goal, and it is universal to all members of a particular kind or species. Aretē means virtues or whatever makes a thing an outstanding specimen of its time. These traits, characteristics, or skills help that thing accomplish its purpose, so a being’s aretē is determined by its telos. Lastly, eudaimonia means happiness and flourishing. Eudaimonia is the state that a thing reaches when it accomplishes its purpose by practicing their virtues.
Aristotle believed that there were two types of virtues, virtues of thought an...
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...ecific virtues, excellences, or practices that will allow that engineer to flourish over their lifetime and to make ethical choices.
A virtuous engineer must have the following characteristics: responsibility, self-discipline, perseverance, competence, diligence, prudence, courage, temperance, justice, collegiality, self-respect, humility, honesty, loyalty, and creativity. One does not have to possess all of those virtues to determine if an action is moral or immoral. Virtue ethicists believe that an “action is only right if it is an action that a virtuous person would carry out in the same circumstances” (Virtue ethics). According to Aristotle’s understanding of telos, the telos or purpose of an engineer has to be universal to all members of this group. However, a problem with virtue ethics is that every person has a different idea of what a virtuous engineer is.
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