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Explain the Principles of Virtue Ethics from the Teaching of Aristotle. Essay

  • Submitted by: kremerl
  • on April 3, 2014
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 960 words

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Below is an essay on "Explain the Principles of Virtue Ethics from the Teaching of Aristotle." from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Aristotle’s principles of virtue ethics are both multi-faceted and complex, with depth and intrigue culminating in what came to be known as Aristotle’s virtue ethics. Virtue Ethics centres on the character of   the person making the moral decision rather than on the action itself. Different forms of Virtue Ethics arise from differences of opinion about how a moral character is to be achieved, yet Virtue Ethics aims to provide an alternative approach to morality that enables people to achieve their potential as human beings and not to have to focus solely on the rightness and wrongness of their actions.   Instead it provides a way to develop character and flourish as a person, and this achieved without persistent rule- following, but rather by pursuing just actions that encourage character development which makes us just people. According to James F Keenan “being virtuous is more than having a particular habit of acting, e.g. generosity. Rather, it means having a fundamental set of related virtues that enable a person to live and act morally well”. (Proposing Cardinal Virtues, Theological Studies, 1995)
Aristotle, though not the originator of moral virtue or arête, was a key proponent in placing at the forefront of virtue ethics. His emphasis was on the role of society as the instrument of harmony throughout mankind. For example, an organ of the human body works in a particular way. It is arête when it performs its function well. Organs relate to each other in harmony, for example, the heart and lungs must work together in tandem. The heart cannot fulfil its function if the lungs hyperventilate. This is not arête, and subsequently the body system may fail. The good functioning of organs in harmony and leads Aristotle argues to eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is the Greek for happiness flourishing or a state of contentment. This metaphor of the organs working in tandem with each other is best exemplified in Organon, in which Aristotle discusses this harmonic relationship in...

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