Philosophy Word of the Day – Virtue Ethics

Personification of virtue (Greek ἀρετή) in Cel...
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Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach which emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that which emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Suppose it is obvious that someone in need should be helped. A utilitarian will point to the fact that the consequences of doing so will maximise well-being, a deontologist to the fact that, in doing so the agent will be acting in accordance with a moral rule such as “Do unto others as you would be done by” and a virtue ethicist to the fact that helping the person would be charitable or benevolent. (Continue article)

(Via Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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2 thoughts on “Philosophy Word of the Day – Virtue Ethics

  1. A consequentialist (of which utilitarian is one type) may alternately note that helping the person is an action that accords with a rule/guideline, which if followed (near) universally would have the best consequences of any alternatives. Or he may note that helping is an action whose motive is one which if held (near) universally would have the best consequences. Which explanation they give depends on which type of consequentialist they are: act, rule, or motive. Also, there are some proponents of ‘sufficing’ consequentialists, who say an action is right iff it (or its rule or motive) leads to ‘sufficiently good’ consequences.
    That’s all assuming that helping does produce the best consequences, of course. But anyway.

    No commentary on your chosen words of the day? Not even what made you choose them?

    • Hi Arestelle,

      Thanks for filling in some more details on consequentialism. I was familiar with act and rule consequentialism, but not motive. Yes, I should add some commentary here and there on these words. Thanks for reminding me to do that!

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