Virtue Ethics: An Aristotelian Approach

2124 Words9 Pages
Virtue ethics, primarily founded by Aristotle, was the dominant approach in Western moral philosophy until Enlightenment [1].Its importance re-emerged with the dissatisfaction associated with deontology and utilitarianism, two theories unable to address issues such as moral character, moral education, friendship etc. Virtue ethics emphasize moral character and virtues, focusing on three central concepts: virtue, practical wisdom and eudaimonia. Cultural Relativism is the view that holds that moral truths cannot be applied universally, and that each person should be morally assessed based on his culture/society. This paper discusses relativist objection faced by Aristotle, its arguments and the responses offered by Aristotle, in addition to anticipated objections and Nussbaum’s responses in her paper “Non-relative virtues: An Aristotelian Approach” A major objection Aristotle faces is the relativist view connected to virtues. Contemporary virtue theory holds that criteria of ethical goodness are internal and different across societies, and therefore reject the concept of a single norm applied to all human beings. Supporters of this theory argue that there is no compatibility between basing the theory on virtues and defending the singleness of human good. If virtues differ through cultures, how can Aristotle argue that there is common human goodness? This argument deems the Aristotelian approach useless when proposing ideas of ethical progress, a conclusion quite
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