Virtue ethics  

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-'''Aristotle''' (384 BC – 322 BC) was a [[Greeks|Greek]] philosopher, a student of [[Plato]] and teacher of [[Alexander the Great]]. His writings cover many subjects, including [[Physics (Aristotle)|physics]], [[metaphysics]], [[Poetics (Aristotle)|poetry]], theater, music, logic, [[rhetoric]], politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and [[Socrates]] (Plato's teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle's writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality and aesthetics, logic and science, politics and metaphysics.+'''Virtue ethics''' (or '''aretaic ethics'''from the [[Ancient Greek|Greek]] ''[[arete]]'') emphasizes the role of one's character and the [[virtue]]s that one's character embodies for determining or evaluating ethical behavior. Virtue ethics is one of the three major approaches to [[normative ethics]], often contrasted to [[deontology]] which emphasizes duty to rules and [[consequentialism]] which derives rightness or wrongness from the outcome of the act itself.
-Aristotle's views on the [[Aristotelian physics|physical sciences]] profoundly shaped medieval scholarship, and their influence extended well into the [[Renaissance]], although they were ultimately replaced by [[Classical mechanics|Newtonian physics]]. In the zoological sciences, some of his observations were confirmed to be accurate only in the 19th century. His works contain the earliest known formal study of logic, which was incorporated in the late 19th century into modern [[formal logic]]. In metaphysics, [[Aristotelianism]] had a profound influence on [[Judeo-Islamic philosophies (800 - 1400)|philosophical and theological thinking in the Islamic and Jewish traditions]] in the [[Middle Ages]], and it continues to influence [[Christian theology]], especially the [[scholasticism|scholastic]] tradition of the [[Catholic Church]] and some strains of [[Eastern Orthodoxy|Eastern Orthodox]] thought. His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of [[virtue ethics]]. All aspects of Aristotle's philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues ([[Cicero]] described his literary style as "a river of gold"), it is thought that the majority of his writings are now lost and only about one-third of the original works have survived.+The difference between these three approaches to morality tends to lie more in the ways in which moral dilemmas are approached, rather than in the moral conclusions reached. For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lying—though a consequentialist may allow that certain foreseeable consequences might make lying acceptable. A deontologist might argue that lying is ''always'' wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that might come from lying. A virtue ethicist, however, would focus less on lying in any particular instance and instead consider what a decision to tell a lie or not tell a lie said about one's character and moral behavior. As such, the morality of lying would be determined on a case-by-case basis, which would be based on factors such as personal benefit, group benefit, and intentions (as to whether they are benevolent or malevolent).
 + 
 +==Contemporary 'aretaic turn'==<!--'Aretaic turn' redirects here-->
 + 
 +Although some [[Age of Enlightenment|Enlightenment]] philosophers (e.g. [[David Hume|Hume]]) continued to emphasize the virtues, with the ascendancy of [[utilitarianism]] and [[deontology]], virtue theory moved to the margins of Western philosophy. The contemporary revival of virtue theory is frequently traced to the philosopher [[G. E. M. Anscombe]]'s 1958 essay "[[Modern Moral Philosophy]]". Following this:
 +* In the 1976 paper "[[The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories]]", Michael Stocker summarises the main aretaic criticisms of deontological and consequentialist ethics.
 +* [[Philippa Foot]], who published a collection of essays in 1978 entitled ''Virtues and Vices.''
 +* [[Alasdair MacIntyre]] has made an effort to reconstruct a virtue-based theory in dialogue with the problems of modern and [[postmodernism|postmodern]] thought; his works include ''[[After Virtue]]'' and ''Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry''.
 +* [[Paul Ricoeur]] has accorded an important place to Aristotelian [[teleological ethics]] in his [[hermeneutical]] [[Phenomenology (philosophy)|phenomenology]] of the subject, most notably in his book ''Oneself as Another''.
 +* theologian [[Stanley Hauerwas]] has also found the language of virtue quite helpful in his own project.
 +* [[Rosalind Hursthouse]] has published ''On Virtue Ethics''.
 +* [[Roger Crisp]] and [[Michael Slote]] have edited a collection of important essays titled ''Virtue Ethics''
 +* [[Martha Nussbaum]] and [[Amartya Sen]] have employed virtue theory in theorizing the [[capability approach]] to [[international development]].
 + 
 +The '''aretaic turn''' in moral philosophy is paralleled by analogous developments in other philosophical disciplines. One of these is [[epistemology]], where a distinctive [[virtue epistemology]] has been developed by [[Linda Trinkaus Zagzebski|Linda Zagzebski]] and others. In political theory, there has been discussion of "virtue politics", and in legal theory, there is a small but growing body of literature on [[virtue jurisprudence]]. The aretaic turn also exists in [[United States of America|American]] [[constitutional theory]], where proponents argue for an emphasis on virtue and vice of constitutional [[adjudicator]]s.
 + 
 +Aretaic approaches to morality, epistemology, and jurisprudence have been the subject of intense debates. One criticism that is frequently made focuses on the problem of guidance; opponents, such as Robert Louden in his article "Some Vices of Virtue Ethics", question whether the idea of a virtuous moral actor, believer, or judge can provide the guidance necessary for action, belief formation, or the decision of legal disputes.
 + 
 + 
 +==See also==
 +* [[Arete]]
 +* [[Aretaic turn]]
 +* [[Buddhist Ethics (discipline)]]
 +* [[Confucianism]]
 +* [[Cynics|Cynicism]]
 +* [[Eudaimonism]]
 +* [[Rule according to higher law]]
 +* [[Seven virtues]]
 +* [[Stoicism]]
 +* [[Virtue jurisprudence]]
 +* [[Virtue]]
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Virtue ethics (or aretaic ethicsfrom the Greek arete) emphasizes the role of one's character and the virtues that one's character embodies for determining or evaluating ethical behavior. Virtue ethics is one of the three major approaches to normative ethics, often contrasted to deontology which emphasizes duty to rules and consequentialism which derives rightness or wrongness from the outcome of the act itself.

The difference between these three approaches to morality tends to lie more in the ways in which moral dilemmas are approached, rather than in the moral conclusions reached. For example, a consequentialist may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lying—though a consequentialist may allow that certain foreseeable consequences might make lying acceptable. A deontologist might argue that lying is always wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that might come from lying. A virtue ethicist, however, would focus less on lying in any particular instance and instead consider what a decision to tell a lie or not tell a lie said about one's character and moral behavior. As such, the morality of lying would be determined on a case-by-case basis, which would be based on factors such as personal benefit, group benefit, and intentions (as to whether they are benevolent or malevolent).

Contemporary 'aretaic turn'

Although some Enlightenment philosophers (e.g. Hume) continued to emphasize the virtues, with the ascendancy of utilitarianism and deontology, virtue theory moved to the margins of Western philosophy. The contemporary revival of virtue theory is frequently traced to the philosopher G. E. M. Anscombe's 1958 essay "Modern Moral Philosophy". Following this:

The aretaic turn in moral philosophy is paralleled by analogous developments in other philosophical disciplines. One of these is epistemology, where a distinctive virtue epistemology has been developed by Linda Zagzebski and others. In political theory, there has been discussion of "virtue politics", and in legal theory, there is a small but growing body of literature on virtue jurisprudence. The aretaic turn also exists in American constitutional theory, where proponents argue for an emphasis on virtue and vice of constitutional adjudicators.

Aretaic approaches to morality, epistemology, and jurisprudence have been the subject of intense debates. One criticism that is frequently made focuses on the problem of guidance; opponents, such as Robert Louden in his article "Some Vices of Virtue Ethics", question whether the idea of a virtuous moral actor, believer, or judge can provide the guidance necessary for action, belief formation, or the decision of legal disputes.


See also




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