Virtue Ethics

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Life consists of choices. Every time we make one, the question pops out in the head: did I do right or wrong? Was it a good or a bad choice? Life does not have wrong choices. In general, a choice is both right and wrong at the same time in relation to the particular person. Each person has a right for a choice. Regardless what choice a person makes, it will be the right one for that person. However, in relation to morality and ethics, the definition of right or wrong can vary. According to the definition, ethics is “...well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards.” (Velasquez et al. 2010). Ethics has a very thin line between right and wrong, depending on the perspective one chooses to filter the choice made.

The ethics has three mainstream perspectives, which underline the limits of human actions. First, the virtue theory of ethics, assumes that the ultimate purpose is to underline the moral purpose of an action (Hursthouse 2012). Therefore, the perspective of human virtue bases the analysis of moral goodness on pursuing the completion of all the issues to satisfy the moral side of the situation. Second, according to Sinnott-Armstrong (2011), utilitarianism is defined through the perspective on moral goodness only if it multiplies the outcome: “only if the total amount of good for all minus the total amount of bad for all is greater than this net amount for any incompatible act available to the agent on that occasion.” Third, the deontological approach of ethics emphasizes obeying the rules no matter what (Hursthouse 2012). In such a way, this approach reassures the strict bureaucracy, despise the emotional of human assets of the circumstances.

Despite the common (general) category of human standards, these approaches have both similarities and differences. For instance, both human virtue and utilitarianism are focusing on the positive outcome of the situation. However, the virtue theory of ethics subdues to the main purpose of the action, which is to satisfy the consideration of a morally good action. The virtue approach praises any outcome of the circumstances unless it was not following the inner drive for morality. For example, it would be a virtue approach to dive for the rescue of a drowning child, but drown with it while trying to save it. As for the utilitarianism, the outcome of the situation is not considered to be as an outcome of a moral action unless it brings positive outcome at the end. Taking into account the same situation, an utalitarian would consider coming for the rescue of a drowning boy a good deed only if the boy and the life guard would be both safe and sound. Such approach also makes deontology similar to the theory of utilitarianism, as deontological theory looks forward to satisfy the greater good by following certain rules, which normally have to define the morality. Nevertheless, always obeying the rules can certainly lead to harmful consequences if applying with no reference to humanity, which is different from utilitarian approach.

After all, one chooses to act upon his beliefs, moral convictions and the values one follows. In addition, it is impossible to choose the same approach in each situation. As a conclusion, personal experience may vary depending on the case. For instance, choosing to obey the rules of the educational establishment, but chose the most convenient or satisfying approach while helping a friend with a problem, or try to emphasize the good intentions when failing to achieve the best result in a particular project are all examples of application of various ethical approaches onto the real life. Each person makes choices depending on the value system of the common choices one makes.

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