‘ the Weaknesses of Virtue Ethics Outweigh Its Strengths’ Discuss

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The concept of virtue ethics by the philosopher Aristotle looks at how we should not look at the right and wrong actions we do by following guidelines, but look at us as human beings becoming virtuous people, through doing virtuous things. The statement of the weaknesses of virtue ethics outweighing the strengths is to an extent true, in particular when you look at the limitations of virtue ethics when claiming the doctrine of mean.

Firstly by looking at the aim if virtue ethics we can gain an insight to the whole concept, Aristotle claimed that in life our aim is to reach fulfilment of happiness, which he called eudemonia. To achieve eudemonia you have to practice virtues and achieve these virtues, through education, emulation and experience. So we learn the virtue by copying someone who is a role model or mentor to confirm our virtue is right and finally practice and experience said virtue. Already we can see a weakness forming within Aristotle’s concept of virtue ethics, foe when learning our virtues from education, emulation and experience. How do we know we are being educated in the correct and socially accepted way? For example in a different time period or different country we may be taught that being rash for example is a good virtue to possess, where as in modern western societies today being rash is thought of as being a bad trait to have. Carrying on with this train of thought, we have the same problem with the aspect of emulation, or in other words copying. For if we are to copy a role model in society today we may see it ok to participate in recreational drugs and drinking, which surely can’t be seen as helping us to follow and achieve eudemonia. Therefore leaving us with weaknesses that clearly disprove the concept of virtue ethics being a plausible concept.

Further more Aristotle goes on to suggest that there is a doctrine of mean, which is

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