Virtue ethics focuses on virtues, which are positive character traits. Virtue ethics is a morally relativist, non-cognitivist theory. Aristotle, along with the Greeks, came up with the idea of virtue ethics, which is known as it is mentioned throughout Aristotle’s most important writings. It isn’t like other theories in the sense that it doesn’t give guidance for moral decision making, but rather a description of moral life. The theory focuses on the whole person, rather than certain traits. One reason it has no serious weaknesses is due to it being character-based. Habits of character are central and therefore developed through training. We need people who are moral role models as well as virtuous in order to become more virtuous, therefore showing that there is no serious weaknesses. However it can be seen that virtue ethics can have serious weaknesses due to conflicting virtues. What happens when virtues conflict, for example, when honesty and kindness conflict, or honesty and loyalty to one's friends. This shows that within virtue ethics there is a serious weakness, due to not knowing what virtues come first. The same goes for vices. What is worse/better, cowardice or lying? Another serious weakness is that it is relativistic. We cannot agree what the key virtues are which differ from culture to culture for example Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations think it is virtuous to be a suicide bomber. What we call a terrorist they can call them freedom fighters and heroes. So goodness and virtues must depend on something else. To conclude I believe that virtue ethics has some serious weaknesses and therefore isn’t a good, validated theory. This is because I believe the weaknesses outweigh the strengths, thus showing that each weakness is serious.
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