Virtue Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
PDF | The concept of moral identity based on virtue ethics has become an psychologists, and moral educators have tried to explain the source and that consists of the study of moral conduct, ethical thinking, and values (Lapsley, ). In. Virtue ethics is person rather than action based. It looks at the moral character of the person carrying out an action. Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and This is not simply splitting the difference between two extremes. Most Roman concepts of virtue were also personified as a numinous deity. . The essence, need and value of virtue is explained in Hindu philosophy as.
Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have employed virtue theory in theorising the capability approach to international development. Julia Annas wrote The Morality of Happiness The aretaic turn in moral philosophy is paralleled by analogous developments in other philosophical disciplines.
One of these is epistemologywhere a distinctive virtue epistemology has been developed by Linda Zagzebski and others. In political theory, there has been discussion of "virtue politics", and in legal theory, there is a small but growing body of literature on virtue jurisprudence. The aretaic turn also exists in American constitutional theorywhere proponents argue for an emphasis on virtue and vice of constitutional adjudicators. Aretaic approaches to morality, epistemology, and jurisprudence have been the subject of intense debates.
One criticism that is frequently made focuses on the problem of guidance; opponents, such as Robert Louden in his article "Some Vices of Virtue Ethics", question whether the idea of a virtuous moral actor, believer, or judge can provide the guidance necessary for action, belief formation, or the decision of legal disputes.
Lists of virtues[ edit ] There are several different lists of particular virtues. Socrates argued that virtue is knowledge, which suggests that there is really only one virtue. John McDowell is a recent defender of this conception. He argues that virtue is a "perceptual capacity" to identify how one ought to act, and that all particular virtues are merely "specialized sensitivities" to a range of reasons for acting.
Each moral virtue was a mean see golden mean between two corresponding vices, one of excess and one of deficiency. Each intellectual virtue is a mental skill or habit by which the mind arrives at truth, affirming what is or denying what is not.
Courage in the face of fear 2. Temperance in the face of pleasure and pain 3. Liberality with wealth and possessions 4. Magnificence with great wealth and possessions 5. Magnanimity with great honors 6.
Proper ambition with normal honors 7. Truthfulness with self-expression 9. Friendliness in social conduct Modesty in the face of shame or shamelessness Righteous indignation in the face of injury Intellectual virtues Nous intelligencewhich apprehends fundamental truths such as definitions, self-evident principles Episteme sciencewhich is skill with inferential reasoning such as proofs, syllogisms, demonstrations Sophia theoretical wisdomwhich combines fundamental truths with valid, necessary inferences to reason well about unchanging truths.
Aristotle also mentions several other traits: Gnome good sense -- passing judgment, "sympathetic understanding" Synesis understanding -- comprehending what others say, does not issue commands Phronesis practical wisdom -- knowledge of what to do, knowledge of changing truths, issues commands Techne art, craftsmanship Criticisms[ edit ] Some philosophers criticise virtue ethics as culturally relative.
Since different people, cultures and societies often have different opinions on what constitutes a virtue, perhaps there is no one objectively right list. In contrast, one modern-era philosopher proposed as the four cardinal virtues: This conception of female virtue no longer holds true in many modern societies. Proponents of virtue theory sometimes respond to this objection by arguing that a central feature of a virtue is its universal applicability.
In other words, any character trait defined as a virtue must reasonably be universally regarded as a virtue for all sentient beings. According to this view, it is inconsistent to claim for example servility as a female virtue, while at the same time not proposing it as a male one.
Other proponents of virtue theory, notably Alasdair MacIntyrerespond to this objection by arguing that any account of the virtues must indeed be generated out of the community in which those virtues are to be practiced: That is to say that the virtues are, and necessarily must be, grounded in a particular time and place. What counts as virtue in 4th-century Athens would be a ludicrous guide to proper behavior in 21st-century Toronto, and vice versa.
Self-Centeredness Morality is supposed to be about other people. It deals with our actions to the extent that they affect other people. Moral praise and blame is attributed on the grounds of an evaluation of our behavior towards others and the ways in that we exhibit, or fail to exhibit, a concern for the well-being of others.Morality and Ethics - 2 Key Terms & 8 Differences: Introduction to Ethics
Virtue ethics, according to this objection, is self-centered because its primary concern is with the agent's own character.
Virtue ethics seems to be essentially interested in the acquisition of the virtues as part of the agent's own well-being and flourishing.
Morality requires us to consider others for their own sake and not because they may benefit us. There seems to be something wrong with aiming to behave compassionately, kindly, and honestly merely because this will make oneself happier.
Virtue - Wikipedia
Related to this objection is a more general objection against the idea that well-being is a master value and that all other things are valuable only to the extent that they contribute to it. This line of attack, exemplified in the writings of Tim Scanlon, objects to the understanding of well-being as a moral notion and sees it more like self-interest.
Furthermore, well-being does not admit to comparisons with other individuals. Thus, well-being cannot play the role that eudaimonists would have it play. This objection fails to appreciate the role of the virtues within the theory. The virtues are other-regarding. Kindness, for example, is about how we respond to the needs of others. The virtuous agent's concern is with developing the right sort of character that will respond to the needs of others in an appropriate way.
The virtue of kindness is about being able to perceive situations where one is required to be kind, have the disposition to respond kindly in a reliable and stable manner, and be able to express one's kind character in accordance with one's kind desires. The eudaimonist account of virtue ethics claims that the good of the agent and the good of others are not two separate aims. Both rather result from the exercise of virtue. Rather than being too self-centered, virtue ethics unifies what is required by morality and what is required by self-interest.
Action-Guiding Moral philosophy is concerned with practical issues. Fundamentally it is about how we should act.
Virtue ethics has criticized consequentialist and deontological theories for being too rigid and inflexible because they rely on one rule or principle. One reply to this is that these theories are action guiding.
The existence of "rigid" rules is a strength, not a weakness because they offer clear direction on what to do. As long as we know the principles, we can apply them to practical situations and be guided by them. Virtue ethics, it is objected, with its emphasis on the imprecise nature of ethics, fails to give us any help with the practicalities of how we should behave.
A theory that fails to be action-guiding is no good as a moral theory. The main response to this criticism is to stress the role of the virtuous agent as an exemplar. Virtue ethics reflects the imprecise nature of ethics by being flexible and situation-sensitive, but it can also be action-guiding by observing the example of the virtuous agent. The virtuous agent is the agent who has a fully developed moral character, who possesses the virtues and acts in accordance with them, and who knows what to do by example.
Further, virtue ethics places considerable of emphasis on the development of moral judgment. Knowing what to do is not a matter of internalizing a principle, but a life-long process of moral learning that will only provide clear answers when one reaches moral maturity.
Virtue ethics cannot give us an easy, instant answer. This is because these answers do not exist. Nonetheless, it can be action-guiding if we understand the role of the virtuous agent and the importance of moral education and development. If virtue consists of the right reason and the right desire, virtue ethics will be action-guiding when we can perceive the right reason and have successfully habituated our desires to affirm its commands.
Moral Luck Finally, there is a concern that virtue ethics leaves us hostage to luck. Morality is about responsibility and the appropriateness of praise and blame. However, we only praise and blame agents for actions taken under conscious choice. The road to virtue is arduous and many things outside our control can go wrong.
- Virtue Ethics
- Virtue ethics
Just as the right education, habits, influences, examples, etc. Some people will be lucky and receive the help and encouragement they need to attain moral maturity, but others will not.
If the development of virtue and vice is subject to luck, is it fair to praise the virtuous and blame the vicious for something that was outside of their control? Further, some accounts of virtue are dependent on the availability of external goods.
Friendship with other virtuous agents is so central to Aristotelian virtue that a life devoid of virtuous friendship will be lacking in eudaimonia.
However, we have no control over the availability of the right friends. How can we then praise the virtuous and blame the vicious if their development and respective virtue and vice were not under their control? Some moral theories try to eliminate the influence of luck on morality primarily deontology.
Virtue ethics, however, answers this objection by embracing moral luck. Rather than try to make morality immune to matters that are outside of our control, virtue ethics recognizes the fragility of the good life and makes it a feature of morality.
It is only because the good life is so vulnerable and fragile that it is so precious. Many things can go wrong on the road to virtue, such that the possibility that virtue is lost, but this vulnerability is an essential feature of the human condition, which makes the attainment of the good life all the more valuable. Virtue in Deontology and Consequentialism Virtue ethics offers a radically different account to deontology and consequentialism.
Virtue ethics, however, has influenced modern moral philosophy not only by developing a full-fledged account of virtue, but also by causing consequentialists and deontologists to re-examine their own theories with view to taking advantage of the insights of virtue.
The emergence of virtue ethics caused many writers to re-examine Kant's other works. Kantian virtue is in some respects similar to Aristotelian virtue. In the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant stresses the importance of education, habituation, and gradual developmentall ideas that have been used by modern deontologists to illustrate the common sense plausibility of the theory.
For Kantians, the main role of virtue and appropriate character development is that a virtuous character will help one formulate appropriate maxims for testing. In other respects, Kantian virtue remains rather dissimilar from other conceptions of virtue.
Differences are based on at least three ideas: First, Kantian virtue is a struggle against emotions. Whether one thinks the emotions should be subjugated or eliminated, for Kant moral worth comes only from the duty of motive, a motive that struggles against inclination.
This is quite different from the Aristotelian picture of harmony between reason and desire. Second, for Kant there is no such thing as weakness of will, understood in the Aristotelian sense of the distinction between continence and incontinence. Kant concentrates on fortitude of will and failure to do so is self-deception. Consequentialists have found a role for virtue as a disposition that tends to promote good consequences. Virtue is not valuable in itself, but rather valuable for the good consequences it tends to bring about.
We should cultivate virtuous dispositions because such dispositions will tend to maximize utility. This is a radical departure from the Aristotelian account of virtue for its own sake. Some consequentialists, such as Driver, go even further and argue that knowledge is not necessary for virtue. Rival accounts have tried to incorporate the benefits of virtue ethics and develop in ways that will allow them to respond to the challenged raised by virtue ethics.
This has led to very fruitful and exciting work being done within this area of philosophy. References and Further Reading a. The original call for a return to Aristotelian ethics. His first outline of his account of the virtues. Ark, Williams, B. Especially Chapter 10 for the thoughts discussed in this paper. Overviews of Virtue Ethics Oakley, J. Edinburgh University Press, c. Varieties of Virtue Ethics Adkins, A. Chatto and Windus, An account of Homeric virtue. University of Minnesota Press, Blum, L.
Clarendon Press, Cottingham, J. Particularly good on the distinction between aretaic and deontic. Cambridge University Press, Driver, J. Agent-based Virtue Ethics", Utilitas, vol. A critique of Slote's agent-based virtue ethics. Her more recent work, developing new themes in her account of virtue ethics. Her original work, setting out her version of virtue ethics.
Blackwell, McDowel,l J. Harvard University Press, A comprehensive criticism of well-being as the foundation of moral theories. His original account of agent-based virtue ethics. A new version of sentimentalist virtue ethics. A pluralist account of virtue ethics, inspired from Nietzschean ideas. Collections on Virtue Ethics Crisp, R. A collection of more recent as well as critical work on virtue ethics, including works by Kantian critics such as O'Neill, consequentialist critics such as Hooker and Driver, an account of Humean virtue by Wiggins, and others.
A collection of classic papers on virtue ethics, including Anscombe, MacIntyre, Williams, etc. Cambridge University Press, A collection bringing together elements from Aristotle, Kant and the Stoics on topics such as the emotions, character, moral development, etc. University of California Press, A seminal collection of papers interpreting the ethics of Aristotle, including contributions by Ackrill, McDowell and Nagel on eudaimonia, Burnyeat on moral development, Urmson on the doctrine of the mean, Wiggins and Rorty on weakness of will, and others.
Edinburgh University Press, A collection of contemporary work on virtue ethics, including a comprehensive introduction by Statman, an overview by Trianosky, Louden and Solomon on objections to virtue ethics, Hursthouse on abortion and virtue ethics, Swanton on value, and others. Virtue and Moral Luck Andree, J. An Aristotelian response to the problem of moral luck. Oxford University Press, Nussbaum, M. Includes her original response to the problem of luck as well as thoughts on rules as rules of thumb, the role of the emotions, etc.
Regarding Aristotle 's opinion that happiness depends on the goods of fortune, Descartes does not deny that these goods contribute to happiness, but remarks that they are in great proportion outside one's own control, whereas one's mind is under one's complete control. In Kant's view, to be goodhearted, benevolent and sympathetic is not regarded as true virtue.
The only aspect that makes a human truly virtuous is to behave in accordance with moral principles. Kant presents an example for more clarification; suppose that you come across a needy person in the street; if your sympathy leads you to help that person, your response does not illustrate your virtue. In this example, since you do not afford helping all needy ones, you have behaved unjustly, and it is out of the domain of principles and true virtue.
Kant applies the approach of four temperaments to distinguish truly virtuous people. According to Kant, among all people with diverse temperaments, a person with melancholy frame of mind is the most virtuous whose thoughts, words and deeds are one of principles. Friedrich Nietzsche[ edit ] Friedrich Nietzsche 's view of virtue is based on the idea of an order of rank among people.
For Nietzsche, the virtues of the strong are seen as vices by the weak and slavish, thus Nietzsche's virtue ethics is based on his distinction between master morality and slave morality.
Nietzsche promotes the virtues of those he calls "higher men", people like Goethe and Beethoven. According to Nietzsche these higher types are solitary, pursue a "unifying project", revere themselves and are healthy and life-affirming.
The 'Higher type' also "instinctively seeks heavy responsibilities" WP in the form of an "organizing idea" for their life, which drives them to artistic and creative work and gives them psychological health and strength.
What Is the Relationship Among Virtue, Values & Moral Concepts in Individual and Business Contexts?
Finally, a Higher type affirms life because he is willing to accept the eternal return of his life and affirm this forever and unconditionally. In the last section of Beyond Good and EvilNietzsche outlines his thoughts on the noble virtues and places solitude as one of the highest virtues: And to keep control over your four virtues: He had a checklist in a notebook to measure each day how he lived up to his virtues.
They became known through Benjamin Franklin's autobiography. Eat not to Dullness. Drink not to Elevation.