A virtue is an exemplary trait. In normative ethics, virtue ethics is one of the major approaches. Primarily, it emphasizes virtues and moral character rather than rules and responsibilities. Ethics is all about good versus evil, wrong, and right. An example of virtue ethics is someone who is temperate, brave, courageous, and kind compared to the one who is intolerant, lies, and cheats. The paper discusses three ways of looking at virtue ethics in the views of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, Nietzsche, and the moral sentiments of David Hume and Adam Smith.
Aristotle - Nicomachean Ethics
Nicomachean Ethics is a philosophical investigation into the idea of the great life for an individual. Particularly, he equates virtue ethics with civic virtues. Aristotle starts the work by setting that there exists some extreme great toward which, in the last examination, every single human activity at last point. The fundamental qualities of a definitive decent are that it is finished, last, independent and persistent. According to Aristotle (p.68), voluntary activities can be ethical. For an activity to be automatic there must be some outer standard causing the activity and the individual must not contribute anything to the activity. In his view, an activity done through dread is just incompletely deliberate, and an activity done through obliviousness may have distinctive degrees of intentionality, contingent upon regardless of whether the individual would have needed to do it in the event that he had recognized what he was doing. He adds that an appropriate goal is vital for high-minded activity. It is something beforehand pondered upon, and is shaped with reason or thought. One can just mean something which one has the ability to do.
Aristotle talks about bravery. It is a mean between carelessness and weakness. Aristotle (p.83) affirms that a brave man is one who faces and fears what he ought to for the correct reason, in the correct way and at the opportune time. In his view, an overcome man plays out his activities for what is honorable. An overcome man is in this manner one that is courageous in confronting an honorable end.
The other virtue Aristotle explores is temperance. It is a mean with respect to real pleasures. The temperate man wants pleasurable things and picks them since they are pleasurable, but he is tormented when he neglects to get what he wants (Aristotle, p.91). he infers that a calm man is modestly arranged with respect to joys and torments.
The other virtue is generosity, which comprises giving expansive sums for reasonable events. The insufficiency of this virtue is called meanness and the excess is cowardice. According to Aristotle (335), a generous man spends readily and sumptuously, not figuring costs, but rather dependably for a respectable reason.
He is interested in the artistic view of virtue ethics. He talks about the characteristics that allow one to excel in a creative way. He mentions risk-taking, creativity, and individuality as those characteristics. According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (p.1), on the off chance that we are prepared dependably to consider bliss and solace and security and the necessities of others, we should cut ourselves off from the preconditions for innovative brilliance on the Nietzschean picture by enduring, hardship, risk, self-concern, and the rest. As he explains, those qualities belong to Ubermensch (the superman). In his view, a person who is considered to be virtuous was pious (religious). More so, he articulates that an individual's values can only be expressed when free from conventional understanding. According to him, virtue has everything to do with power. He calls it the will to power. Fundamentally, Nietzsche attacks morality both for its responsibility regarding untenable elucidating (otherworldly and exact) asserts about human office, and also for the malicious effect of its particular standards and qualities on the prospering of the most elevated sorts of individuals (p.1). Furthermore, he believes that God is dead and we create our meaning. According to the Standard Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (p.1), Nietzsche affirms, "The passion that attacks those who are noble is peculiar....It involves the use of a rare and singular standard cold to everybody else; the discovery of values for which no scales have been invented yet; offering sacrifices on altars that are dedicated to an unknown god; a courage without any desire for honors; self-sufficiency that overflows and gives to men and things."
According to David Hume, human beings are ruled by their passions. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (p.1) indicates that in Hume's theory of the mind, passions are considered impression rather than ideas. Some of the direct passions that he talks about, which arise from good and evil or pain and pleasure include hope, aversion, desire, joy, grief, and fear (p.1). Besides that, he indicates that the desires and emotions of every individual's actions motivate them. According to him, the motivating passions are produced in the mind by certain causes (p.1). Consequently, the author indicates that the notions of pain and pleasure are the causes of the motivating passions. Furthermore, he indicates that based on contemplation, a virtue is a virtue as long as they appear agreeable and advantageous. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (p.1) notes that compared to other moral philosophers, Hume's sets himself in opposition by affirming that reason is not the only motive to any action of the will and reason alone cannot oppose passion in the direction of the will.
According to Smith, until there is a foreseeable action, ethical dispositions become unclear. He adds that when there is a visible action to base judgments upon, then one can describe the aspects that are either agreeable or disagreeable. Smith recognizes principles and excellences as regulating advisers for action (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, p.1). Smith avers that moral standards which are shaped based on our responses to particular occurrences such when we say to ourselves, "I'll never do that", bar certain particularly appalling sorts of conduct and give a structure of shared desires for the society (p.1). In his view, they are fundamental to equity, particularly, without which social orders couldn't survive (p.1). They likewise empower individuals who are not completely temperate to carry on with at least dignity and goodness (p.1). Smith indicates that ideals require more than just after good principles, be that as it may (p.1). He adds that our enthusiastic airs should be re-designed so we don't simply influence the notions of the unprejudiced onlooker yet receive those notions, recognize ourselves with, turn into, the fair observer, seeing that that is conceivable (p.1). additionally, Smith asserts that on the off chance that we are really ethical, an accommodation to specific guidelines will oblige all that we do, however, inside that system we will work without rules, attempting rather to shape ourselves with the know-how by which a craftsman forms his earth, to such an extent that we create airs to legitimate appreciation, generosity, bravery, tolerance, and continuance (p.1).
In summary, virtue ethics is all about an individual's actions. All of the philosophers discussed above have their perspectives regarding virtue ethics. In essence, it is fair to say that virtue ethics is most compatible with normative ethics. By far, the philosophers mentioned above teach individuals the significance of having good morals in life. Despite their different views, all their views provide essential virtues for every person.
Aristotle. The Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle. London: Longmans Green, and Co. 1869. Print.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Adam Smith's Moral and Political Philosophy. 2017. Accessible at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/smith-moral-political/#SumSmiMor
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Hume's Moral Philosophy. 2010. Accessible at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-moral/
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Nietzsche's Moral and Political Philosophy. 2015. Accessible at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/nietzsche-moral-political/
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