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Virtue Ethics

What are virtue ethics? Learn about different approaches on virtue.
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When we find ourselves in a discussion about a businessman, or a public figure donating to a charitable organization, we encounter and even share certain assessments of the acts done by such a person. We can say that the businessman did it because it is in his interest, and that he does more good to more people. Another view that we can espouse is that donating would be the right thing to do as dictated by our moral duty. Then, it is also likely that we simply say that the man is charitable, or benevolent. His last assessment is a product of the use of virtue ethics. Let’s explore this a little bit more [BACKGROUND].
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As a major approach in normative ethics, virtue ethics stresses the centrality of virtues or moral character in ethical decision-making. This approach is often contrasted with consequentialism, which emphasizes consequences and deontology, which focuses on duties or rules. This does not mean, however, that the other two theories do not converse about virtues. The difference is that virtues and character are central in virtue ethics theory, more specifically, the core concepts of virtue and practical wisdom. Virtue ethics, a recently coined term, has a long history. It began with the teachings of Socrates as relayed by Plato, that virtue seems to be similar to knowledge, the knowledge of good and evil, which is necessary to achieve the ultimate good or eudaimonia.
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This is the basic theory why character is important in virtue ethics. Aristotle expounded that this virtue is really constituted in rational activity, which is manifested as honesty, pride, friendliness, wittiness, rationality in judgment, mutually beneficial friendships, and scientific knowledge. There are three strands of virtue ethics. First, eudaimonism, the classical formulation, holds that the proper goal of life is eudaimonia or happiness. This can be achieved by practicing the virtues on a daily basis, subjects to the exercise of practical wisdom in resolving conflicts or dilemmas. In simpler terms, this strand defines virtue as a habit or quality, allowing people to achieve their purpose.
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Second, the ethics [BACKGROUND] of care aims to shift or share the focus on the concerns traditionally seen as promoted by women, such as caring and nurturing. Lastly, [BACKGROUND] agent-based theories examine character traits which are admirable. These traits are identified by looking to people viewed as moral exemplars. One of the major criticisms of the virtue ethics approach is that it is difficult to pin down the exact nature of virtues, particularly when we consider the multiplicity of people, societies, and cultures. In other words, virtue could be relative. Further, the theory is also criticized for being wanting in guidance on which actions a person should take.
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This approach simply focuses on the qualities of a person, but does not tell what a good person must do. Despite these criticisms, however, virtue ethics is a major approach because human beings do find certain qualities important and aspire to be like the exemplars that they look up to. In conclusion, virtue ethics stresses the centrality of virtues or moral character in ethical decision-making. The core concepts are virtue and practical wisdom. In one of its major strands, virtue is described as a habit or quality allowing people to achieve their purpose. This approach is criticized for being unclear, considering that virtue is relative. Further, it is also criticized for being wanting in guidance on which actions a person should take.
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Despite these criticisms, however, virtue ethics is a major approach because human beings do find certain qualities important and aspire to be like the exemplars that they look up to. Now, here are five key points. One [BACKGROUND] , as a major approach in normative ethics, virtue ethics stresses the centrality of virtues or moral character in ethical decision-making. Two [BACKGROUND] , the core concepts are virtue and practical wisdom. Three [BACKGROUND] , the classical formulation holds that the proper goal of life is eudaimonia, or happiness. Four [BACKGROUND] , one of the major criticisms of the virtue ethics approach is that it is difficult to pin down the exact nature of virtues, particularly when we consider the multiplicity of people, societies, and cultures.
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Five [BACKGROUND] , further, the theory is also criticized for being wanting in guidance on which actions a person should take [BACKGROUND].

Let’s now find out a bit more about virtue ethics. The basic theories behind virtue, including the thoughts of Plato and Aristotle. Watch this video from the University of Law Business School to find out more.

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Ethical Management and Decision Making

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