Philosophy Ethics Essay - Practical Wisdom

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Assess the theory of practical wisdom as an account of how we make moral decisions

The theory of practical wisdom, also known as the virtue theory, is an approach to ethical philosophy that concentrates on the characteristics and personality of the moral agent rather than duties, rules or consequences. It argues that all things in the world have a function and that the best way for that thing to excel is to fulfil this function as best as possible and that, by fulfilling this function, we strive towards the Good. For instance, a pencil’s function is to write well. If the lead breaks or the lead does not scratch off onto paper well, then it is a bad pencil and is not fulfilling its function. A Good life for humans is one that is lived according to reason as it is the distinctive characteristic we hold over all things and is a crucial element to our understanding and moral reasoning. Although happiness is relative, one thing we know for sure is that all humans strive for it; there is no well-made sentient being that seeks for its own destruction. According to Aristotle, to be virtuous is the highest form of happiness anyone can feel and is the only type of happiness worth pursuing. To pursue this is to flourish and flourishing is a main target for practical ethicists. This is referred to as Eudamonia, a state of well-being and happiness and is achieved when we flourish. In this essay I will explain the value of virtue ethics in our moral judgement and how strong an argument it is. I will also compare it to consequentialism and deontology, assessing its advantages and disadvantages over them. It contrasts with consequentialism which assesses the consequences of a particular act to form a valid moral judgement and contrasts with deontology which decides what is right or wrong based on the character of the act itself rather than the consequences. The difference between these types of ethical approaches is subtle and can be assessed by checking the...
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