Sample Ethics Paper on Virtue Ethics
Virtue Ethics is one of the four ethical approaches that explain ethical behavior in a deeper sense. It focuses on an individual’s character as the primary motive behind their actions, whether positive or negative. The other three approaches are Care Ethics, Consequentialism, and Non-Consequentialism. The consequentialism approach concentrates on the outcomes of an individual’s actions. It aims at eradicating the negative ramifications while preserving the positive results. On the other hand, the Non-Consequentialism approach refutes the notion that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by the goodness or badness of its consequences. Lastly, the care Ethics emphasizes the existent moral significance underlying relationships and dependency between caregivers and care receivers. Hence, Virtue Ethics, unlike the other ethical frameworks, does not provide a guide for moral decisions; instead, it describes the moral life.
Virtue Ethics answers the questions: how an individual ought to live their life and what kind of a person they should be. The said approach to ethics is keen on an individual’s whole persona and not just their actions. Virtue Ethicists are of the opinion that being a genuine person is pegged on having a good character and being naturally predisposed to doing the right thing. Hence, this framework centres on the development of a good character and the necessary virtues required to become the right person that one is supposed to be.
A clear comprehension of virtue ethics is critical in understanding the elements that drive an individual’s actions. This framework can help explain certain mind-boggling questions such as “why is it a hard job to be good?” while everyone loves the consequences of being good, not everyone loves being good. Additionally, virtue Ethicists contend that being good is an aggregate of several elements within an individual, as such no one becomes good overnight. An individual has to consider an optimum mix of virtues and wisdom that produce a good character. Such virtues, as pointed out by Aristotle, include magnificence, temperance, liberality, wit, and truthfulness among many others. In essence, the ultimate result of being good is dependent on an individual’s ability and willingness to cultivate these virtues. It is a progressive process that requires a lot of patience and consistency which many people do not possess. Most people are not willing to undergo this process of building a good character and, therefore, end up being wrong people.
Aristotle argues that the end of any human being is “happiness” which he calls “Eudaimonia.” However, the aim is dependent upon the distinct function of a person as opposed to other living things. Undoubtedly, a person can reason before implementing any actions. These deeds have the ultimate effect of achieving happiness. Hence, Aristotle postulated that the function of a human being is to be good at acting according to reason. Every person is rational naturally, since rationality is an element of the soul, and will act rationally as opposed to animals that work on instincts. Implicitly put, humans will do things that are guided by reason, and an individual will derive happiness from having done something according to their reason. Aristotle, in his ethical theory, states that the ultimate goal of all humans is happiness. He further suggests that virtue and reason guide the route to this target.