Virtue ethics


How virtues are acquired:

According to virtue ethicists, virtues are habits that determinewhat a person is or how a person is described. For example,generosity is a virtue that makes a person to be referred to asgenerous and such a person is expected to behave in a generous way inall circumstances. Virtues are acquired or developed through learningand or practice. Just as a person learns to be athletic throughcontinuous practice, it is the same way that virtues are acquired(Gardiner, 2013). According to Aristotle, it is possible for a personto develop discipline and learn how to always do well throughpractice. For a person to have virtues such as fairness, courage andcompassion, they must learn them and practice them as well. Virtuesare like habits, they are acquired over time and they form thecharacteristic of a person. It is essential to note that people whohave acquired virtues are expected to act morally.

What is situationist psychology?

This is an aspect which forms a theory in psychology that assertsthat traits are non-existent. However, this aspect excludesintelligence from the list of these traits. According to this theory,behaviors are influenced by situations or external factors. It isalso essential to state that according to situationist theory, traitsare not influenced by any internal motivations. Proponents of thistheory suggest that some traits such as extraversion are estimated tobe different in different situations (Gardiner, 2013). In otherwords, different traits will be portrayed differently depending onthe situations. There have been various prominent studies that havebeen associated with situationist psychology such as bystanderexperiments, obedience experiments such as heat and aggressionexperiments. These experiments show traits that change in differentsituations.

Criticism of virtue ethics

There have been a number of criticisms to virtue ethics due to itsnature of taking the character of a person in totality in determiningvirtues. One of the key criticisms of virtue ethics is the questionof what should be considered as virtuous. According to the proponentsof virtue ethics, it is evident that what is virtuous is what aperson with virtues would do. Subsequently, this brings up thequestion of who is a virtuous person which leads us back to theinitial question of what is virtuous (Gardiner, 2013). This seemslike a circular form of explanation, which has no clear answer. Thishas been one of the primary criticisms of the aspect from otherpsychologists. Responding to this criticism, Aristotle asserts thatfor a person to be virtuous, one has to be moderate. In other words,virtuous is what is moderate. However, this response was consideredas a failed attempt to portray virtue ethics as applicable andeffective.

The Golden Mean

According to Aristotle, the golden mean is the middle level betweentwo extremes. The two extremes might be a virtue while the otherextreme might be an undesirable aspect. For instance courage may be adesirable virtue but when it is overdone, it might end up beingrecklessness. The deficiency of courage on the other extreme willlead to cowardice. Therefore, people with the virtue of courage wouldensure that it does not extend to the other extreme otherwise itresorts to recklessness (Gardiner, 2013). A perfect example is when asoldier runs away from way which is equated with cowardice.Additionally, a soldier who approaches twenty soldiers alone isconsidered as being reckless. The important thing is to find a middleground where the virtue of courage is desirable. At the end of thetwo extremes is excess of a virtue and deficit of the same virtue onthe other. According to Aristotle, when one finds the middle point,one is considered as acting morally. It is essential to note that themiddle ground is not universal but it depends on various situations.For instance, there are situations that would require enormous amountof courage that would not result to recklessness. Additionally, thereare situations that require little courage, which does not result tocowardice.

Why is virtue ethics particularly well-suited to the medicalprofession?

is a theory that ensures that people only do what ismorally right or else what is virtuous. is an extremelyuseful aspect since it ensures that the medical practitioners areworking according to the certain ethics and virtues. It is evidentthat medical practitioners are supposed to have a commitment to thewellbeing of the patients. It is essential for such people to haveunique virtues that would ensure that they are committed to thewell-being of the patients (Gardiner, 2013). It is evident that themedical practitioners are at times the ones who come in between lifeand dead of the patients. It is therefore essential for such peopleto have virtues that would ensure that they only do what would beconsidered as moral and good by the patient and the society at large. is particularly essential for medical profession sincethe practitioners in the field must ensure that they have theinterests of the patients at heart.


Gardiner, S. M. (2013).&nbsp, old and new.Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University.