Outline the Principle Advantages and Disadvantages of an Approach to Ethics Based Around Virtue

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With any approach to ethics there will be conflicts, ambiguity or in some cases inconsistency. However in all approaches to ethics, such as Kantianism, Utilitarianism or in this case virtue there will be logical, rational and sound decisions made and outcomes produced.

Virtue ethics is influenced heavily by Aristotle whose Nichomachean ethics was based on the teleological idea that nature is for a purpose i.e. Sex is for reproduction. One clear advantage of the virtue ethics system is that as opposed to asking ‘what should I do?' it asks ‘how should I live?' which not only covers areas under ‘what should I do?' but delves further. It also solves dilemmas between honesty and compassion which occur under the ‘what should I do' branch. For example should someone lie to save someone hiding from a murder in a wardrobe? Under virtue ethics in cases like these the agent must exercise their practical wisdom (phronesis) to resolve the conflict. This enables the agent to make the choice to lie, despite deception being in many views, morally wrong and saving a life in the process.

Another advantage with virtue ethics is its inclusion of emotions. Where someone might do, or not do something because of their emotions might make them less praiseworthy than someone who acts out of duty, With virtue ethics they are just as, if not more so praiseworthy for acting after thinking as opposed to just doing. For example the father who plays football with his son because he enjoys it has a good grasp of the virtues as opposed to the father who plays football with his son because he feels he has to. This is an advantage because it is more realistic in essence than other ethical systems.

For anyone familiar with utilitarianism will spot the clear advantage with virtue ethics in that there is an absence of a decision making process which, in essence means that the virtue ethics system does not pin all moral situations under the guise of one principle, it accepts life is more...
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