Medical Ethics Harootunian 10/24/11 1 Virtue Ethics (Part 2) In the last 50 years, virtue ethics has received considerable philosophical attention. Contemporary ethicists have developed different kinds of virtue theories. Some of these theories share a good deal in common with Aristotle’s account, while other theories depart from Aristotle’s account in significant ways. Contemporary virtue ethicists tend to reject Aristotle’s function argument, though some retain similar argument s. Virtue theorists tend to agree on a general, philosophical characterization of virtue – that virtue is an acquired disposition – a learned tendency – to think, to feel, and to act in a morally good/morally right way. As Beauchamp and Childress (B&C) put it, acting virtuously requires an agent to have a certain “motivation al structure. ” By this, they mean that a virtuous agent must have a tendency to do the morally right act for a morally good reason, which is to say that the agent must have the proper disposition , the disposition of virtue. virtue theories. I think that Justin Oakley does a nice job of capturing the distinctive features of virtue theories of ethics. Oakley provides a concise
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This note was uploaded on 11/07/2011 for the course PHIL 164 taught by Professor Doviak during the Fall '07 term at UMass (Amherst).