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 thatâ€¦ Nonmoral virtues being;
courage, optimism, rationality, self-control, patience, endurance and
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
... middle of paper ...
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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