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Unformatted text preview: Virtue Based Ethics Critique Virtues are dispositions or traits that are not wholly innate: they must be acquired, at least in part by teaching and practice, or perhaps by grace. Character Traits
Not personality traits – charm, shyness, etc. . . Invoke a tendency to do certain kinds of Invoke actions in certain kinds of situations, not just to think or feel a certain way. Not abilities or skills which you can have without using them Concerned with be this not do this Ethics of Virtue
Not deontic judgments but aretaic judgments. Either deontic judgments can be derived from aretaic ones, OR Aretaic judgments about action is based on aretaic judgments about character. 1 Three Kinds of Virtue
Trait Egoism – virtues are the dispositions most conducive to one’s own good or welfare, or prudence or one’ careful concern for one’s own good is the cardinal basic one’ virtue. Trait Utilitarianism – virtues are those traits that promote the general good, or that benevolence is the cardinal virtue. Trait Deontological – certain traits are morally good or virtuous as such and not just because of nonmoral value they have or promote, or that there are other other cardinal virtues besides prudence or benevolence, e.g. obedience to God, honesty, or justice. Distinctions Regarding Virtue
Monistic – only one cardinal virtue. Monistic Pluralistic – more than one cardinal virtue. Cardinal numbers are distinguished from ordinal numbers; the later are any number that expresses degree, quality, or position. Cardinal virtues are primary, or chief. Set of Cardinal virtues
Cannot be derived from another virtue. Cannot All other virtues can be derived from them. All Different Sets of Cardinal Virtues
Plato – wisdom, courage, temperance and justice. Christianity – faith, hope, love (theological virtues); prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice (human virtues) Deontologists – Benevolence and Justice. In so far as a virtue is a disposition cannot be derived from benevolence and justice it is not a moral virtue or it is not a virtue at all. 2 Traits vs. Principles
No conflict Interrelationship between trait and principles. Morality of principles can’t get off the ground can’ except with the development of disposition to act in accordance with its principles. Not a conformity to rules – but to spirit of the principle. Virtues and duties as complementary aspects of the same morality
Double aspect conception of morality. Double Principles are basic but so are virtues. Principles Deontological Virtues
Sources of morality are not to be external but internal. Sources Extrinsic vs. Intrinsic Extrinsic Application Since morality cannot provide us with fixed principles of actual principles duty only with prima facie duties.
It cannot be content with letter of the law, must foster the dispositions that will It dispositions sustain us when choosing between competing principles of prima facie duties. facie Morality must recognize various sorts of excuses and extenuating circumstances Morality Praise or blame agent not on conformity to principles Basic principles and their corollaries
Beneficence Beneficence Equal treatment (justice) Equal Function of virtues cultivate a willingness to act Dispositions to be Cultivated
First order virtues – both cardinal and non cardinal
Benevolence Benevolence Justice Justice Honesty Honesty Gratitude Gratitude Two Questions
Is an action to be judged right or wrong because its results, because of the principle it exemplifies, OR, because the motive, intention, or trait of character involved is morally good or bad?
An action is to be judged right or wrong by reference An to a principle or set of principles. Must be done gladly. Must Second order virtues – more abstract and general
Conscientiousness Conscientiousness Moral courage Moral Integrity Integrity Good will Good Moral autonomy – the ability to make moral decisions and to Moral revise one’s principles if necessary. Requires one’
Vividness Imagination What is moral goodness?
Not when an agent does the right action. Not Depends on character and motives. Depends 3 Critique
There are no duties, only chosen obligations. “To be beneficent where one can is a duty, and besides there are many souls so sympathetically attuned that, without any other motive of vanity or self-interest they selffind an inner satisfaction in spreading joy around them and can take delight in the satisfaction of others so far as it is their own work. But I assert that in such a case an action of this kind, however it may conform with duty and however amiable it may be, has nevertheless no true moral worth but is on the same footing with other inclinations …” Why don’t people want to be virtuous? don’ 4 ...
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