ETH/316 - Ethics and Social Responsibility
July 17, 2013
Virtue theory differs from the two other normative theories, utilitarianism and deontology; it focuses primarily more on the individual, and their characteristics; whereas the other two focus more on your actions. Virtue ethics encompasses how we should be and which virtues we should acquire. Deontology and utilitarianism is an expression of what we should do, and this differs from personal yearnings and feelings. There are traits and characteristics which are understood to be virtuous (definition: Excellence in morals; A good habit; a character trait or quality valued as being good.) i.e., caring, confident and courteous are examples. Virtue ethics are viewed as an ethics of personal development where over time you can develop into a better person by learning and adopting such values and practices. Aristotle identified what he thought were the four main virtues: Justice, courage, temperance and wisdom. If a person did not have these human qualities, they are not considered morally mature. Although, they could acquire them through practice, and therefore lead a better life. Deontological ethics only considers a single act in isolation whereas a person can and will be judged by how they acted by one single occasion. Choices are morally required, forbidden, or permitted. Deontology is a moral theory that guides our choices and assesses what kind of person we are or should be; dependent on rules, moral laws, and intuition. Utilitarianism revolves around the concept of “the end justifies the means.” It believes that outcomes as a result of an action have a greater value compared to the latter, the morally right action is the action that produces the most good. It also states that the most ethical thing to do is to take advantage of happiness for the good of the society. This normative theory considers the overall good for all people and not just a single...
References: Hursthouse, Rosalind, "Virtue Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
Kraut, Richard, "Aristotle 's Ethics", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = .
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