Virtue Ethics

According to Aristotle, ethics depended on the virtues of a..

Virtue Ethics

According to Aristotle, ethics depended on the
virtues of a man. Ethical Egoism, Utilitarianism, ethics of right action,
Kant’s theory and the Social Contract theory dominated the moral philosophy
from seventeenth century onwards, but certain modern philosophers demanded
return to Aristotelian ideas, specially Elizabeth and Anscombe who criticized
the incoherent notion of “law without a law giver”, rejecting the modern moral
theory. Virtue can be defined as “traits of character, manifested in habitual
actions that is good for a person to have”. According to Aristotle “virtue is
the means poised between two extremes” for example, courage is a virtue but the
virtue of right action is also important. Courage used for evil actions is no
virtue. Generosity, as Jesus or the Utilitarian defined it, obstructs us from
living a normal life. But generosity that allows a satisfactory life style
allowing us to be modestly comfortable is preferred. Honesty or not lying is a
virtue but if self preservation is at stake by unjust person, deceptive truth
or lying can be justified. The virtue of loyalty towards family and friends at
times can conflict with the virtue of right action that is prosecuting a
relation or friend to uphold justice. But it startles the sensibilities of
common people as scene in the case of Euthyphro. The difference between
virtue ethics and ethics of right actions is that ethics promoting only right
actions do not provide the virtues of love and friendship. Impartiality is not
natural to human beings and a part of good moral life is being partial to one’s
family and friends. So a virtue theory is benefiting here. The advantage of the
virtue theory is that we need all the above mentioned virtues to do well in
life and live a successful social life.



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