Strengths Of Virtue Ethics Essay

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‘The Strengths of Virtue Ethics Outweighs its Weaknesses’
The concept of virtue ethics was first developed by Aristotle in 'nichomachean ethics '. He believed that the point of ethics is to become good, and virtue ethics highlights this well. It is an agent centred idea of morality and focuses on how a person can develop virtues and what sort of person you should be, rather than how you should act in order to be good. An alternative name for it is aretaic ethics, which comes from the Greek arete meaning any kind of excellence.

Aristotle first developed upon the idea that humans final good is eudaimonia, which is happiness and all round human flourishing. He saw the development of virtue as the in which way we can achieve this good. Additionally
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Acquiring virtues takes place throughout a person’s whole life so it states there is a need to show that good actions are rewarding and that virtue is learnt through doing and following the example of virtuous role models, e.g. Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. Whilst this is a strength in itself, what further makes the theory more favourable is the psychological context that can be given to this way of learning virtues. One psychologist Alfred Bandura put forward social learning theory in 1977 as a possible explanation of how we learn from our environment through observation and reinforcement. This can be linked to virtue ethics because it shows that we will watch role models and their behaviour and imitate it, developing a system of virtues that are rewarding which will ultimately lead us to eudaimonia. This gives some form of theoretical evidence to virtue ethics which makes it seem a more realistic way of thinking about goodness and how we must achieve…show more content…
For example, kindness and honesty can’t always be used together. There may be times where it is kinder to lie, such as in the axe murderer example used in arguments of Kantian ethics, which states that it is your duty to tell the truth and let someone be killed. Virtue ethics would say the kind thing to do is to lie and prevent the murder, but this means there would be a conflict of virtues with no way to know if it is right because whilst one virtue is being upheld, another is ignored. This is a weakness because it means there is always times where it cannot provide a solid solution to a
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