'The weaknesses of Virtue Ethics outweigh its strengths.' Discuss. Virtue ethics derives from Plato and Aristotle and does not focus on actions being right or wrong, but instead of how to be a good person and the character of a person. It looks at what makes a person good and the qualities (or virtues) that make a person good. Virtue ethics is agent-centred ethics rather than act-centred; it asks ‘What sort of person ought I to be?’ rather than ‘How ought I to act?’ The Aristotelian approach shows to give an account of the structure of morality and explained that the point of enrolling in ethics is to become good: ‘For we are enquiring not in order to know what virtue is but in order to become good since otherwise our enquiry would be of no use.’ (Nichomachean Ethics, Book 1, ch.
From this Moore claimed that it is impossible to derive an ‘is from an ought’. This criticism became known as the naturalistic fallacy. In addition to this G.E Moore claimed that naturalism was not able to stand up to the open question argument. ethical naturalism claims to be based on moral facts, it would therefore seem logical that these facts should stand up to scrutiny. Yet, if we observe that pleasure is good, we should be able to ask is good pleasure.
One major strength of virtue ethics is that it allows the moral agent to make ethical decisions based on his or her moral well-being, not just based on what is legally right. Therefore this ethical system can be seen to have a greater weight over others as someone who follows it are doing so because they believe it’s right rather than following rules. This then also acknowledges that morality is complex and so rejects simplistic maxims as a basis for moral truths. However, this can also be seen to be one of the weaknesses of virtue ethics. Robert Louden stated that as virtue ethics is focused on the individual, it neither resolves nor attempts to resolve big moral dilemmas.
Moral virtue has to do with feelings, choices, and acting morally right. Moral virtues are classified as states of character. Virtues cannot be passions because, we are not praised or blamed for the way we feel, but we are praised or blamed for our virtues. Virtues must be states of character. Not all states of character are virtuous.
Those who oppose cognitivists are called non cognitivists and they believe that when someone makes a moral statement they are not describing the world, but they are merely expressing their feelings and opinions, they believe that moral statements are not objective therefore they cannot be verified as true or false. In this essay I will be discussing the multiple branches of cognitive theories and non cognitive theories in order to answer the Janus-like question whether or not moral statements truly hold objective meaning. Ethical naturalism is just one branch of a cognitive theory in which naturalists believe that ethical statements are the same as non-ethical ones, meaning they are all factual and can
Cultural relativism is the idea that the moral principles someone has are solely determined by the culture one lives in. These ideas seem to make sense because we as a culture understand that the judgments people make in a different culture will differ from ours whether we choose to support it or not. Our culture has different moral judgments as well and does not look at something like killing someone for stealing as morally right since our culture values human life above theft. Cultural relativism does not exist because some principles are universal and not relative only to culture. People also have the ability to think morally for themselves so morality is relative to someone’s point of view.
Moral Relativism cannot and does not accept the idea that an objective moral system exists. If it did, you could evaluate other ethical systems meaningfully. A moral relativist would ask such questions as ‘what do we mean by wrong?’ when making a decision on something deemed wrong. Relativism is in direct contrast with absolute morality that is deontological, referring to looking at the action in itself. A moral relativist would believe that there is no definite set of rules that apply universally.
According to hard determinism we are not free in the sense required for moral responsibility, and therefore, what happens cannot be affected by choices that are free in the sense. But what happens may nevertheless be caused by the decisions we chose and the choices we make. A reaction to hard determinism is that if it were true, we would have no reason to attempt to accomplish anything, to try and improve our lives because our decisions and choices would make no difference. If everything we do is pre determined then why try hard to achieve anything, if you are meant to do a certain something, it will happen, it is already determined for you, so the hard determinist would say. In the hard determinist’s judgement, this feeling of freedom is an illusion.
Emotions, on the other hand, are instinctive thoughts built into human nature, and rely solely on an individual’s gut-feeling or intuition. With these definitions in mind, it is easy to see why emotions would realistically be less effective than reason in constructing and validating knowledge claims. Plato described emotion and reason as two horses pulling us in opposite directions, and while reason drives an individual to make a logical decision or knowledge claim, emotion can do just the opposite. For example, in a fit of rage, you may claim that you hate an individual, as your emotions at that current moment lead you to believe so. However later on, once your mind
For utilitarian school of thought, an individual strives to do the most good, even at the expense of the minority. Utilitarianism and Kantianism find the basis of their differences in the idea that the ends justify the means. Utilitarian beliefs support this idea while Kantian philosophy rejects this. Modern ethics were devised from these two basic ethical beliefs in an attempt to combine the best aspects. Generally, the morally “right” action benefits the majority while affecting the fewest amount in a negative way.