Encyclopedia of Sciences and Religions

2013 Edition
| Editors: Anne L. C. Runehov, Lluis Oviedo

Virtue Ethics

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8265-8_1571

Aristotelian Ethics

Virtue ethics is a branch of normative, or “deontological,” ethics – a subdivision of ethics as a whole, which is a special field of philosophy. Virtue ethics distinguishes itself from the other main sectors of deontological ethics as well as utilitarian, or “consequentialist” ethics, by its concern with the moral character of a person, rather than with one’s action. It is wrong, however, to assume that virtue ethics is not at all interested in actions, as some of its critics have often charged. Virtue ethics seeks rather to understand the teleological or purposeful content of what we do. It presupposes that any action, which stems from desire, is always aimed at an end, and that this end will result in the eventual formation of our moral character and identity. The central question in virtue ethics is that of “who am I?” As Alasdair Macintyre, the leading contemporary exponent and popularizer of virtue ethics, has put it, virtue ethics asks these key questions:...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Religious StudiesUniversity of DenverDenverUSA
  2. 2.University of DenverDenverUSA