Objections to Virtue Ethics My Ethical Philosophy Essay

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Objections to Virtue Ethics

My ethical philosophy could be said to be defined by what is known as 'virtue ethics' -- or the idea that a good person is more likely to make good ethical decisions, based upon his or her character. Character is more important than adhering to a dogmatic ethical system or engaging in the unpredictable activity of trying to predict every likely consequence of a specific action. Of course, some philosophers might object that the concept of virtue ethics is situational in nature, and is thus very similar to that of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill's utilitarianism, which advocates a consequence-focused ethical theory. However, virtue ethicists do not focus on consequences alone: they do stress the need for a moral decision-making process. They believe that both the process and the consequences are important to consider when judging a particular position to be 'ethical' or not, and that a moral person is better able to balance the need for objective morality and the consequences of enforcing a moral system. That is why character of the individual is so important when selecting what principles to apply to a given situation, and deciding how to judge a situation, more so than either emphasizing results (utilitarianism) or eternal laws (like the Kantian categorical imperative).

Objections to virtue ethics

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Virtue ethics has come under scrutiny ever since was conceptualization in the mind of great thinkers like the Greek philosopher Aristotle. "Aristotle argued that our distinctive function is reasoning, and so the life 'worth living' is one in which we reason well" (Athanassoulis, 2010). Many have seen this as a kind of self-centered justification to virtue ethics -- it over-emphasizes the personal benefits of giving to the giver. The focus, they argue, should be upon the effects of the receiver, or upon society at large, depending on whether they are deontological or utilitarian (respectively) in their focus

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Another objection, one which is most vehemently articulated by philosopher Peter Singer, is that emphasizing the character of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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