Virtue Ethics Mod 5 Homework


Part I

Virtues are behaviors that demonstrate high moral principles. Everyprofession has its unique set of virtues that practitioners areexpected to have. In the law professions, lawyers need to have thefollowing virtues: Balance – a lawyer ought to balance betweentheir personal and work life. This means having the capability tocontrol emotions such that they do not interfere with an individual’swork. The virtue makes it possible to accomplish the role of servingclient’s needs. Lawyers have a lot to do and they must be able tobalance their responsibilities, by prioritizing roles based on theirrelevance. Integrity – it involves demonstrating an adherence torules, being decent and moral. Lawyers are supposed to be truthful intheir dealings. Idealism – the act of idealism implies expressingone’s self. Under this virtue, lawyers should use theirconsciousness when analyzing cases, which ensures that they actappropriately and truthfully. Compassion – lawyers should becapable of comprehending how their thinking as well as deeds has aneffect on other people as well as the entire world. The virtue isespecially important because in most instances, the lawyers willprovide advice or represent clients in court. Hence, they need toassociate with the issues their client faces, which is possible bybeing caring. Compassion makes it possible to understand and act onthe needs of others. Courage – lawyers will possible encountermoments that require them to face their fears in representingclients. The profession involves arguing for a new legal argument incourt, which is not possible to achieve without the confidence tocommunicate one’s case. Creativity – a lawyer should be capableof navigating the restrictions created by different situationsfaced.

Happiness is an emotion. In most instances, people feel happy whensomething good happens to them. It is possible for someone to behappy, yet not flourishing. This is because flourishing derives frombeing well in general. Flourishing refers to a thriving condition oflife, whereas happiness is having a positive attitude of life. I havea friend whom I consider happy but not flourishing. My friend is aninternational student who faces many challenges adopting to the newcountry and learning system. She does not know English well and findsit difficult to communicate with people. Although she is happy thatshe is getting better schooling, she is not flourishing because herpoor English skills mean she cannot get a part time job. In addition,she is unable to make many friends, as she is notable to speakeloquently, which makes her life incomplete. Being in a foreigncountry and not having friends’ and not able to get a job means theindividual is not flourishing.

There is no definite time for when an individual becomes virtuous.This is because it is a personal decision. Notably, what may seemvirtuous to one person might not be virtuous to another individual.Hence, in the case of the individual that decides to change theirlife, it can be concluded that they instantly become virtuous.According to the individual leading a dissolute life, they are awarethat excessive eating, laziness, drinking a lot, lying and pettinessare not virtuous activities. So once they stop such habits, then theybecome virtuous. It is not possible to say that the change happens inan hour, week or month, because becoming virtuous is something thathappens instantly the moment the individual decides to change theirbehavior. The greatest factor of virtue ethics is the link it makesamid action as well as character. Action in the case referring to themoment the person decides to become virtuous, or when they get theirwake up call. They instantly become a different person because of thenew character that is formed. The change happens immediately becausea person is judged virtuous depending on the actions that they takeimmediately. This means that a virtuous individual might not at allinstances act in a manner that results in the best outcomes, thoughthe action they take makes them virtuous when taken with theobjective of performing good. Virtue is an act that cannot bemeasured, rather it is observed. Depending on the observation, itbecomes possible to tell if one is virtuous or not.Having lived adissolute life for years, the intention to become a good personalready makes the individual virtuous, meaning there is no time limitto becoming virtuous.

Dan should pay Joe, because whatever is virtuous is what andindividual would do. This means acting in a manner that result inmoral good. Research depicts that our behaviors do not becomedictated through inner deliberation, rather through outerstimulation. This has led to the emergence of situationistpsychology, whereby an individual’s deeds are not validated throughsome innate character, but via the external condition where they getthemselves. Virtue ethics tends to disregard the greater good throughconcentrating on the person. Dan has already declared that he willshare half his reaches with the individual that manages to save hislife. Hence, he has made a promise to the unknown person that issuccessful in saving his life. On the other hand, Joe acts honestlyby giving the poison, which acts as a cure to Dan’s illness.Honesty derives from the fact that Joe is unaware of the promise, andthat he does not realize that the poison works as a cure instead ofkilling Dan. Dan should pay Joe because as a virtuous person he mustfulfill his promise. Virtuous individuals are people that fulfillpromises. The promise in this case is an outer stimulation because itderives from someone saving Dan’s life. Since a virtuous act isdictated via outer stimulation, the decision to pay Joe males Danvirtuous. Any contrary action implies that Dan is not a virtuousindividual. Joe finds himself in an external condition that he isunaware of, and since he acts out of honesty, he should get half thewealth. The case is analyzed on an external basis, which is the moralaction that can be observed. A promise has been made, which must befulfilled because the stipulations resulting to its fulfillment havebeen actualized.

I will choose the doctor that has the best intentions for herpatients despite having average abilities. This is because, althoughthe doctor may not have much experience, they are dedicated toensuring that their actions result in moral good. Hence, despiteproviding treatment that is average, the doctor will ensure that thetreatment is not just average but to the best of their ability. Thedoctor is more concerned about ensuring that her actions results inthe most good to her patients, which makes her intentions and actionsvirtuous. It feels safer getting treatment from a doctor that I feelis concerned about my wellbeing. The answer relates to virtue ethics,because virtue ethicists argue that a behavior ought to be consideredin regard to the intended aftermaths. This involves questioning whythe act happened and if the doer was endeavoring to do a good thing,which resonates to something virtuous. Virtue ethics reflects on thecharacter of the doer, and not what action is correct or incorrect.The doctor that has average expertise has a good character becauseshe demonstrates concern for her patients. Contrary, the aboveaverage doctor lacks a good character because she does not depictconcern for her patients. The first doctor may not provide the besttreatment like the first doctor, but their action is more virtuous.This is because her intended outcome is to ensure a patient gets thebest treatment, meaning she will provide the best treatment.Contrary, the second doctor is not concerned about their treatment,as she does not care about her patients, which means the treatmentmay not be in the best interest making their actions non-virtuous.

A good doctor is virtuous and a virtuous doctor is good. In themedicine profession, doctors are supposed to commit their work toacting in line to specific virtues. The most significant virtue ishaving a special dedication as well as consideration towards the sickindividual’s health. Hence, a good doctor is virtuous because theyadhere to the virtue ethics stipulated in the medicine profession. Agood doctor must work in manners that demonstrate their commitment tothe patient, and in manners that result in moral good. A virtuousdoctor is good because they act in ways that adhere to the virtueethics of the profession. This means that their actions are guided byensuring they result in good.

An illustration of a situation where, taking a moderate positionresults in desirable results is when settling a disagreement betweentwo children fighting. Assuming you are sitting on a bench in a parkwhere children are playing. Then one of the children forcefully takesa toy from another. The child whose toy has been snatched away goesto the child and asks for the toy to be returned. However, the otherchild refuses and they start to fight each pulling the toy to theirside. You walk towards the children as they start to fight and youdecide to inform both children that they should not be fighting.Instead of concentrating on who owns the toy, not, who is wrong, orright, you decide to concentrate on why the children should avoidfighting. This makes it possible to question the children as to whythey are fighting, and ensure that they reconcile their differences.An illustration where taking a moderate position could result inunwanted results, is in the incidence of an accident. Assuming thatyou are driving then suddenly you witness an accident. In theaccident, the driver slightly hits a pedestrian that is crossingalong a pedestrian crossing. The driver disregards the traffic rulethat mandates drivers to stop at a pedestrian crossing despite seeingthat the pedestrian is already crossing the road. Luckily, thepedestrian has not been hurt severely and is still able to walk.Having witnessed the accident, you decide to mediate between thedriver and pedestrian. You argue that both the driver and pedestrianare wrong. The outcome is that the pedestrian considers you a baddriver, just as the one who has hit her. She argues that you are bothnot virtuous because you disregard traffic rules and that she wasright in using the pedestrian crossing. The driver is on the wrongbecause he did not stop despite driving past a pedestrian crossingand seeing the pedestrian.

Part II

Gardiner’s article analyses two moral dilemmas by applying virtueethics to demonstrate its use in enhancing the approach to medicalethics (Gardiner, 2003). The author notes that virtue ethics is astructure, which concentrates on the character that performs an actinstead of the correctness of an action. Gardiner begins byexplaining the concept of virtue ethics. He defines virtue ethics asthe ethical guidelines, which inform individuals on which actions totake. Further is the argument that virtue ethics explores the mannerin which moral agents are able to learn through habitual practice onthe development of proper traits that will make it possible forpersons to behave properly. In the first case, the medicalpractitioner faces the dilemma of balancing between the need toimprove the health of the patient and their own knowhow and thepatient’s preference, while at the same time ensuring that anyaction the doctors takes does not go against the medical moral code(Gardiner, 2003). In the case, the patient presents their perceptionon blood transfusion, which derives from religious beliefs. Althoughthe doctor knows what is the best interest for the patient, they haveto employ a treatment approach that suits the patient needs. This isbecause the patient is capable of making decisions concerning theirwellbeing. Gardiner argues that a virtuous doctor is one that is ableto show respect and consideration for the decisions made by theirpatients. In the second case, the argument is on whether individualsshould be permitted to sell kidneys for transplantation (Gardiner,2003). There are numerous issues to take into consideration prior toallowing people to sell kidneys. These include the reasons forselling, how the donor’s wellbeing is affected, how much to sellamong others. In the case, the virtue ethicist should payconsideration to the needs of the donor and receiver, to ensure thata fair decision is arrived at concerning the issue of kidneytransplantation. Issues such as integrity, whether the kidney isbeing sold to merely make money or save a live, precision and hopecome into play.

Part III

The week’s lessons have been interesting. In specific, what hasbeen more interesting has been the explanation on how to determinevirtuousness. The readings make it apparent that virtues differdepending on the individual. This means that what may seem good toone person may not be good to another. Hence, virtuousness is judgedby action, which is what people do and not what they think is rightor wrong. The lesson has resulted in a positive impact on my moralattitudes. I am now better placed to analyze different situations andmake decisions on whether actions that will be taken will result invirtuousness.


Gardiner, P. (2003). A virtue ethics approach to moral dilemmas inmedicine. Journal of Medical Ethics, 29(5), 297-302.