The Alternative View To Virtue Ethics

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The Alternative View To Virtue Ethics

Virtue theory is the view that the foundation of morality is the

development of good character traits, or virtues. A person is good,

then, if he has virtues and lacks vices. Some virtue theorists mention

as many as 100 virtuous character traits, which contribute to making

someone a good person.

Virtue theory places special emphasis on moral education since

virtuous character traits are developed in one's youth; adults,

therefore, are responsible for instilling virtues in the young. The

failure to properly develop virtuous character traits will result in

the agent acquiring vices or bad character traits instead. Vices

include cowardice, insensibility, injustice, and vanity.

Virtue ethics says that it is not only important to do the right

thing, but also to have the required dispositions, motivations, and

emotions in being good and doing right. We should enjoy doing good

because we are good. It isn't only about action but also about

emotions, character, and moral habits.

The virtues are Excellencies of character. Traditionally, they have

been divided into two types: moral and nonmoral virtues. Moral ones

being; honesty, benevolence, non-malevolence, fairness, kindness,

conscientiousness and others like that… Nonmoral virtues being;

courage, optimism, rationality, self-control, patience, endurance and

so on…

The exact classification of various virtues is debatable. The nonmoral

virtues generally are considered as contributing to the moral life but

also as more easily expropriated for immoral purposes.

Even though most of the virtue systems don't deny that there are


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correct action. Virtue theorists emphasise the admitted difficulties

of employing these formulae together with the suggestion that we ought

to abandon them in favour of their alternative systems. We ought

instead, we are told, to concentrate on the kinds of persons we ought

to be, rather than the particular actions we should take. Since

persons of appropriate moral character do good deeds, we would save

ourselves the headaches of having to employ complicated theories

especially if those theories do not often offer us very convincing


A virtue theorist will try to show us that rule-following systems are

open to more objections than that they are difficult to employ.

Secondly, he will tell us that virtue ethics makes the whole task of

living a moral life a good deal simpler and quite intuitive.
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