“Ethics without virtue is an illusion. What is the highest purpose of ethics? It is to make a person good, that is virtuous.” – Peter Kreeft
“Moral theories that give greater priority to qualities of character and practical reasoning than to moral rules or outcomes”. After reading this, you might wonder to what theory does this definition refer to. It took me a while to understand its significance, and properly relate it to the doctrine of virtue ethics. I learned that virtue ethics tries to accentuate the traits of character in moral philosophy rather than one’s duty. Like in any other theory, people have expressed praise or criticism.
What I personally find very intriguing is that virtue ethicists took their inspiration from Aristotle, for whom “virtue was often about finding a middle way between excess and lack.” Moreover, he claimed that “a virtuous person is someone who has ideal character traits”, for which I totally support his point of view.
As you probably already know, we live in a highly competitive society in which there are more and more people who believe that a virtuous person is considered as good when he or she acts in a way which has been imposed by society. In other words, you believe what you believe because of your surrounding environment. You think and reason in a certain way because of your culture. But what most of us don’t understand is the fact that virtue ethics relies on anything but on religion, society or culture. It fully and entirely depends on the individuals themselves.
I moreover believe that people should increase their confidence, and for instance, change the way they perform tasks in their everyday life. They should not adopt a certain move just because society tells to do so. Instead, we should fight for our own personal beliefs, and ask ourselves “What sort of person should I become”, rather than “What should I do?” because it has more to do with character and nature of what it is to be human, than with the rights and wrongs of our actions. It is all about finding a way to become a better person.
If one asks me: “What should we do in order to become a better person?”. We should simply practice more virtuous acts on a regular basis. This will become a habit, part of our everyday life. As a result, we will start leading a virtuous life. For example, if a person is passionate about art, he will want to learn more and more about the subject every day. He will become better at it by practicing his virtues. Most of all, it will lead him to happiness.