The moral principles that govern an individual’s or a group’s code of conducts are referred as ethics. In other words, it is the subdivision of knowledge that deals with the moral actions of human beings. Equally, virtue ethicist is expounded as the characters of an individual’s character as well as the virtues that take a central role in the determination of one’s ethical behavior. It encompasses not one, but three imperative approaches to normative ethics that recurrently gets differentiated to deontology. It is from that background that the paper will be taking a position of a virtue ethicist and elucidating on whether one would be honorably reasonable in using the ring of Grges for personal benefit.
A virtue ethicist is a person who will always do something not because he/she wants to do it, but because it is morally right. In other words one would act with much humility, kindness and generosity (Tännsjö, 2008). All these character traits will always help a person to make a moral decision without harming anybody or anything. In as much as it may at times be very hard to act right morally, virtue ethicists believe that it is very possible to act right morally. It therefore means that virtue ethics begin with the right character and when one is willing to develop a good character, and then such a person will be able to portray better decision making. It is through this that the paper is going to explain the moral justification of the ring of Gyges.
The ring of Gyges is a ring that had the ability to enable someone does something without being noticed. In the story of the ring, it was used by the shepherd to attain personal interest not thinking of the impact it would bring to the rest of the people (Österberg, 1988). In other words, the shepherd used the ring in a way that many people would use it to gain all that he wanted because the ring had that ability to enable the shepherd do them. A virtue ethicist would not have used the ring in the same way that the shepherd used it. He first used it to gain favor before the king for the report that was needed after getting what the other shepherds were talking about him, this means that he did not justly behave. Because of the ability vested on him by the ring, he further abducted the kingdom for his personal interest or comforts an action that was not right morally.
The shepherd lacked the character that would have guided him to use the ring in a moral way thinking of what the rest would feel. In addition, virtue ethicists strongly hold to the fact that a person should be guided by kindness when deciding to do anything. The shepherd in the ring of Gyges was never lead by kindness rather by selfishness and egocentrism that enable him to think not of the rest but himself when he noticed that he had a higher ability than the rest. As a virtue ethicist, I would think of a better way this ring would assist us generally to get out of the tough situations surrounding us holding on to kindness and generosity as a guideline.
An ethical egoist believes in moral actions to attain personal interest (Österberg, 1988). In other word, he or she will try to act morally right but putting self-interest ahead of everything else. The self interest in the ethical egoist will always make him or her to do what the shepherd did in the ring of Gyges which finally became wrong morally. When one brings self before anything, the person is forced to act wrongly unlike when kindness comes (Tännsjö, 2008). It brings a big contrast between the ethical egoist and a virtue ethicist. There is no way the two can take the same position in the use of the ring since the ethical egoist will be led by self to act morally right while the virtue ethicist will be led by kindness and generosity to do anything that the ring will enable him or her to perform. It thus reveals the reason why the two must take different sides in this topic.
Österberg, J. (1988). Self and others: A study of ethical egoism. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Tännsjö, T. (2008). Understanding ethics: An introduction to moral theory. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press