Virtue Ethics Deontology Emphasizes Importance Virtues, Moral Essay


¶ … virtue ethics deontology emphasizes importance virtues, moral character, deontology emphasizes duties rules. Suppose obvious helped. A deontologist point fact, helping agent acting accordance moral rule " Do " a virtue ethicist fact helping person charitable benevolent. To 'do good' or to 'be good'?: Deontological vs. virtue ethics

In our daily lives, we often find ourselves torn between the competing demands of virtue ethics vs. deontology. Do we go with our 'gut instinct' and hope that virtue in our character will guide us in the right way, or do we follow the rules of a moral order, even when doing so is unpleasant and even counterintuitive? Ultimately, while virtue ethics is somewhat problematic in its construction because of the vague and highly debatable nature of what constitutes virtue, it is a more feasible means to govern one's ethical life than the rigidity of deontology.

According to deontologists, rather than speculate about the possible future consequences of our actions -- often a futile task -- we should instead focus upon or duties and obligations as a human being. "At the heart of agent-centered theories (with their agent-relative reasons) is the idea of agency…Our categorical obligations are not to focus on how our actions cause or enable other agents to do evil; the focus of our categorical obligations is to keep our own agency free of moral taint" (Alexander & Moore 2005). Exceptions to moral actions are not validated by their consequences and one ought to behave as if setting a moral law 'for all time' with every action as stated...


No action is purely contextual and situational. To be the agent of a bad action is a universal moral evil, and is not exculpated by the good results. For example, killing someone is wrong, even if a moral 'good' of five people surviving thanks to getting organ transplants is the result (Alexander & Moore 2005).
In contrast to the act-based emphasis of deontology, virtue ethics stresses the need for the moral actor to be a 'good person,' and from that good character, good deeds are assumed to flow. "The concept of a virtue is the concept of something that makes its possessor good: a virtuous person is a morally good, excellent or admirable person who acts and feels well, rightly, as she should" (Hursthouse 2012). This notion is an old one, and extends as far back as Aristotle. "The good life is the morally meritorious life; the morally meritorious life is one that is responsive to the demands of the world" (Hursthouse 2012). Although killing someone may be regarded as a wrong in most instances, in other instances some exceptions to this categorical rule must be found (a 'mercy killing'). The world is ever-changing, and it is best to have a moral character that embodies virtues to enable the moral actor to be able to shift his or her responses with the times, according to virtue ethicists.

The most obvious problem with deontology "is the seeming irrationality of our having duties or permissions to make the world morally worse" (Alexander & Moore 2005). For example, it is a generally-agreed upon moral principle that children have a…

Sources Used in Documents:


Alexander, Larry and Moore, Michael. "Deontological Ethics." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (Fall 2008 Edition). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). 22 Nov 2012. <>.

Hursthouse, Rosalind. "Virtue Ethics." The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012

Edition). Edward N. Zalta (ed.). 22 Nov 2012.


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