Philosophy ethical theory – Essay Example

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In contrast, the revival that it has experienced recently is seen to be serving the practical function reminding the moral philosophers that the elaboration of a theory that is normative may not be able to provide a complete account of an individual’s moral life (Hursthouse, 2013). The only explanation that the people that are against virtues ethics have is the claim that the value ethics is mainly focused on good and bad character instead of considering right and wrong actions. This claim only helps to expose the contrast that exists between the virtue ethics and deontology and utilitarianism the former being agent centered while the latter can be seen as being act centered.

On the contrary, utilitarianism mainly focuses on good and bad states of issues instead of looking at right and wrong action and this means that utilitarianism, unlike deontology has nothing to report concerning right action (Hursthouse, 2013). There exist two most important limitations of self-effacing hypothesis. To begin with, the self-effacing theories are not clear what should motivate us and therefore do not provide a direction in the way that we should live.

This means that they are unsuccessful in performing a function that the ethical theories are mandated to perform. Secondly, these theories generally preclude the realization of a vital good which is the good of a psychologically harmonious life where the agent gets motivation from the things that are perceived to be legitimately vital. This means that consequentialism and deontology face either the failures that does not offer an account of friendship and other personal connections that is credible or the failures associated with self-effacement. On loose characterization, the term ethical virtues encompasses any type of philosophical enquiry that fields questions that are normative concerning character or queries what kind of people we are supposed to be.

A characterization like this one means that the virtue ethics should not be in competition with consequentialist and deontological accounts in terms of rights of action. There also should not exist a direct concern as far as virtues are concerned thus in focusing on the person it is better to dwell on the emotions, intentions, goals and abilities instead of focusing on the virtues (Keller, 2007). This characterization of virtue ethics under which they offer criteria that that is associated with right action which is in contrast with the criteria that is offered by the consequentialist which is of the opinion that a particular act is right if it results in the best probable state of affairs as well as the deontological theory that is of the opinion that an act is correct in the event that it is in accordance with moral rules.


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Gardiner, S. M. (2005). Virtue ethics, old and new. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.

Hursthouse, R. (1999). On virtue ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hursthouse, R. (2013). Normative virtue ethics. ETHICA, p. 645.

Keller, S. (2007). Virtue ethics is self-effacing. Australasian Journal Of Philosophy, 85 (2), pp.


Oakley, J. (1996), VARIETIES OF VIRTUE ETHICS. Ratio, 9: 128–152. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-


Stocker, M. (1976). The schizophrenia of modern ethical theories.

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