Aristotle 's Theory Of Virtue Ethics

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“The beginning seems to be more than half of the whole.” ― Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics Ethics is the philosophical study of moral judgements (Solomon: 2010). Moral philosophy has long been dominated by two basic theories; deontology, inspired by Immanuel Kant, the eighteenth century philosopher and; utilitarianism or consequentialism, which derives its modern day instructions from eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Jeremey Bentham and J. S. Mills, respectively (Hursthouse:1999). Increasing dissatisfaction with these theories and their variants has led in recent years to the emergence of a different theory, the theory of virtue ethics (Statman: 1997). It can be argued that, of the ethical stances considered over the course of this subject, Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics as defined in his Nicomachean Ethics, is the most comprehensive. Unlike the other theories presented, which focus on principles or rules of action as the basis for morality, Aristotle presents us with a classic formulation, an alternative basis for ethical reasoning (Baker: 2013). In virtue ethics, the emphasis is on cultivating a virtuous character rather than following rules of action; that is, with philosophical consideration, it is decided which virtues would, in combination, comprise a fully developed excellent character, and how those virtues contribute to each other and to our overall character (Athanassoulis:2012). It is also known as the ethics of self-realisation (Solomon:2010).
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