Virtue ethics is a theory used to make principled and moral decisions. It is at the moment one of the main approaches in normative ethics. It is a broad term for theories which put emphasis on the role of virtue and character in moral philosophy in contrast to the approach which stresses rules and duties. Alternatively is certainly is the aspect that stresses the consequences of actions. Seemingly, virtual ethics revolves around the conception of Eudemonia which advocates for great happiness as a result of reason-governed life. It majorly concerns the good for the self. It does not rely on society, religion or culture; instead, it only majorly depends on the individuals themselves. Identifying behaviors and habits that allow individuals to reach “the perfect life”, these behaviors and habits are qualities. Therefore, virtual ethics emphasize more on character than consequences or rules. This theory allows people to bring out more of the person's character and show more personality (Wilkens 178).
Aristotle’s Moral Virtues
Virtue ethics is nearly as old as philosophy itself. The chief theorist of virtue ethics is Aristotle whose theory was originally introduced in ancient Greek times. As a philosopher, Aristotle believed greatly in the meaning of virtue and virtues which in his opinion meant “to full fill one’s functions”. Majorly, virtues are intrinsic traits that are put into practice every day. Seemingly, one cannot know the type of virtue an individual has, such as sincerity by only meeting them for the first time. Instead, they basically have to know that person quite well. Aristotle posits that those whose intent are to lead a righteous life have a sense of well-being and are happy with their lives. For this reason, happiness is the definitive goal for every person in life. In order for us to become better persons, we ought to practice righteous acts repeatedly. It is after a while that these acts are a part of us and become a habit.
Notably, ethics or virtual theory comes from the Greek word for excellence which is a justification of a lifetime of various acts make up the character of a person. Making a good life for your family, yourself or your community definitely means more than just making money. For instance, going to bed happy shows that one has accomplished something they had planned. This depicts that people who put their virtues into practice greatly improve their skills and are definitely happier. Since they have worked hard enough, they have the feeling that they truly deserve that happiness. Aristotle notes that virtues are acquired, we are not born with and that. People are not essentially bad or good and what determine whether they will be bad or good are the habits they will develop in their lives (May 217).
Virtue ethics concerns the good for the self. Aristotle keenly observed that things of any diversity have a certain attribute function that they are appropriately used to perform. He notes that it is our duty to seek a life in full compliance with the pleasure of needs, the balanced nature and the attainment of material goods. He further notes that people who are normally happy display unique personalities that are balanced between needs and reasons. This assumption suggests that happiness can only be achieved through the maturity of the qualities that make life complete. Although Aristotle is moreover believed in his statement that “we are all aiming at excellence”, it doesn’t mean each one of us must reach it. It is up to us to receive or develop virtues which we are automatically not born with.
Business ethics can be defined as unwritten or written codes of values and principles that oversee actions and decisions within a company. Organization’s culture in the business world often set standards for determining the difference between bad and good behavior and decision making. Business ethics is a form of applied professional ethics or applied ethics that checks up ethical or moral problems that take place in a business environment. Decisions made within an organization can be made by groups or individuals; however the biggest query is particularly on whoever makes them. Certainly whoever makes these decisions will be influenced by the company’s culture. Seemingly, it is a moral decision to behave ethically, on this point; it is the duty of the employees to decide what they presume to be the right course of action.
Corporate social responsibility and ethical behavior can bring significant settlement to a business. For instance, it would greatly attract customers to purchase firm products thereby increasing profits and sales. Secondly, it could make employees desire to remain in the business, enable the organization to get competent employees and reduce recruitment cost. Lastly, it could keep the company’s share price high and attract investors, thus protecting the business from conquest. Lack of corporate social responsibility and unethical behavior in contrast, could make a firm less appealing and may even damage its reputation. As a result, profits could fall. Therefore, ensuring that staffs get conversant with the corporate values of a company is of paramount importance (Setiya 7)
Virtue Ethics Today
When examining the extent to which virtue ethics has developed today, one evident development that many virtues which display compassionate for others well being as well as unwillingness to cause harm have also been added to Aristotle’s list. Philosophers have provided many virtues that relate to the world today which include; loyalty, honesty, reliability, sensitivity, civility and cool-headedness among others. Majority of these virtues assist in the development of personal relations with others. Virtue ethics today have without exception initiated certain characteristics which seemingly have regard for other people.
It also can be argued successfully and reasonably that in some sense virtues ethics have in one way or another taken their virtues to another level beyond Aristotle. A person with integrity will ask for assistance, this is a good example of ethical conflict where the wise individual is in a compromising situation. The conflict is normally between the virtue honesty and virtue of loyalty or possibly the conflict of stopping dishonesty. Other numerous decisions demonstrate the complexity of using virtue as a guideline for making decisions. Consequently, the whole concept and argument is arguable since many combinations and variations of the usually accepted theories are broadly used in making ethical decisions (Neubert 4).
Notably, with virtue of action, the consequentialist determines what is wrong or right with the virtue by action. At all times, what produces good always prevails. For instance, if the government intends to take over a dairy farm, both the government and the community would benefit. In this sense, because the group that is affected is quite small doesn’t mean they are irrelevant or insignificant. All around, in order to be virtuous one must take care about everything and everyone. Although, the better good was intended to benefit, there was no intention of causing pain to the farmer. It is the government’s duty to give fair and considerate market value which is okay to many people. Due to the Originate Property law, this can happen on anyone without notice at anytime.
Every final activity has a final cause and therefore virtue in itself is not valuable, instead it is valuable for the right consequences it intends to elicit. We must cultivate virtuous depositions since these dispositions have a tendency of maximizing utility. As the key school of theory, virtue ethics envelope and promote very different customs and principles. Virtue ethics today seemingly do not extend themselves beyond those character traits and skills that build up our relationships with others. To many people, virtue ethics do not really bring a form of fulfillment which ought to be significant. All the claims that compose virtues ethics have to be treated with immense caution.
Neither the common thinking of wealth, pleasure, and honor nor the rational theory gives satisfactory account of all this sine even persons that achieve greatness including material goods might not be happy. Lastly have a mandate of evaluating comprehensively potential contribution of ethics. Virtues are the moral habits we gradually form that require frequent free commitments. Moreover, when moral actions are continually chosen freely, they become easier and desirable. The only way we could perfect our virtues is by freely submitting ourselves to the moral truth. Therefore it is only through developing the virtues that make life complete that true happiness may be attained.
Wilkens, Steve. Beyond Bumper Sticker Ethics: An Introduction to Theories of Right and Wrong. Downers Grove, Ill: IVP Academic, 2011. Internet resource.
May, Hope. Aristotle's Ethics: Moral Development and Human Nature. London: Continuum, 2010. Print.
Setiya, Kieran. "Reasons without RationalismBy Kieran SetiyaPrinceton University Press, 2007. ix+ 131 pp.£ 22.50 Summary." Analysis 69.3 (2009): 509-510.
Neubert, Mitchell J., et al. "The virtuous influence of ethical leadership behavior: Evidence from the field." Journal of Business Ethics 90.2 (2009): 157-170.