A Summary Of Robert Louden's Criticism Of Virtue Ethics

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Philosopher Robert Louden presented a criticism of virtue ethics. Rather than arguing that virtue ethics as a moral theory is wrong, Louden argues that the agent-centeredness of values ethics fails to provide adequate guidance for the action of the agent, thereby making the theory useless and disregardable. Louden’s first criticism is that virtue ethics does not allow for actions to be viewed separately from the agent (Louden, 228). This focus on virtues and not actions result poses a problem when assessing individuals committing acts which are out of character. Taking for example an individual lying to another about already being on their way to meet them when he is still at home - according to virtue ethics, even if that individual is always honest in other cases, he would be …show more content…
Unlike deontology or utilitarianism which are action-based moral theory, virtue ethics is a character-centric moral theory. Deontology and utilitarianism give absolute rule as to how agent ought to act in any situations - deontology argues that actions should be driven by duty and utilitarians put the maximization of utility above all else. Virtue ethics, due to its focus on the agent rather than the actions, allows for more flexibility as to how an individual ought to act. The main value of virtue ethics is its focus on the aim towards the self-improvement of the agent. Aristotle states that individuals become virtuous by committing virtuous actions - virtue ethics therefore purports to letting individuals improve on themselves. Virtue ethics allows individuals to make decisions based on their own character rather than on clearly defined rules. Unlike utilitarianism, where the actions one ought to do are routinized and almost machinelike, virtue ethics provides a more diverse course of action to

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