The views over those 3 concepts is separated between the ethnologists- who focus on the principles of the action and their universal justifications inherent to any human being- and the utilitarian’s -who focus on the consequences of actions. However, the concept of “virtue ethics” was not covered by those two parties.
It focuses on another aspect of the action which is the person who is acting and her character. Moderate version says that virtue ethics fills the traditional moral theory with an essential element Of our moral life. For Aristotle, virtue is the “Golden mean”. It means that virtue is the desirable middle between two extremes, it is about using moderation while choosing the right action. Then he thought virtue ethics is acquired by established tradition, culture, in other words he thought relativism is part of virtue ethics.
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He also thought those different virtues do not come into conflict “Good person has them all”pop . On the contrary, Nietzsche had a non-relativist approach of virtue ethics and saw it as both a characteristic found in every one as human beings and a unique variable between people. To Nietzsche that is why virtues can enter into conflict from one person to another. Virtue ethicists argue that settlements of established ways of doing things is essential to ethics. It means that virtue in a sense is a shared understanding of pre-established rules.
Everyone who act in the same situation understands the objective and knows the way to reach it. The practice then is the element enabling people to manage using the way of acting. The practice is the virtue. The action can not be well done without practice. To me this would assume that virtues can be improved. Furthermore, virtue ethicists argue that there is virtue wherever there a social context. Meaning that outside of a society, open-mindless or generosity or kindness are not virtues. In addition to that “The virtues” represent the general social practices.
The term “General” means crucial to any human interchange, just like honesty, generosity. Talents like sport or music can not be counted as “virtues”. An other question is raised by virtue ethicists and it is the distinction between moral virtues and non-moral virtues. “Non-moral” virtues are specific skills, abilities such as having a high sense of negotiations. The more general ones like honesty or courage are the “moral virtues”. To Aristotle, there is no distinction, “the virtues” are only made of “moral”. Virtues is “what make people a good citizen ND a good neighbor”pop.
Virtues do not represent specific skills or competences. Several modern authors said that the virtues Of business are in conflict with the sense of community. Whereas, the answers were that business activities in the 1 8th and 19th was the highly civilizing activity and the activity lead to social harmony. So business virtues could be considered either as “essential” or “non-moral”. In business, virtue is following Aristotle in is concept of “Golden mean” It means that each virtue has to be moderated according to the domain of action.
Lets take the example of the honesty, telling the whole truth in any situation whether talking to a client or a employee regarding the same subject would be stupid and restful. However, lying IS not a virtue, so a sense of moderation is required. Again, it is not a search for a universal way to act in a certain situation but a different moderate way of acting with virtues regarding the habits of the person, the relationship you could have with the person or the fairness of the situation. Courage Temperance and justice are the 3 dominant virtues in business.
Generosity is generally denied to business as business people tend to be qualified as self-interested people. However it is still a matter of moderation here because it is a need in business to know how to deal with money in order to be successful but without being greedy. Then Solomon talks about virtues for people disobeying the laws but emerging as heroes to the society, for instance heroes like Robin Hood. They take high risk to reach more happiness. They do have moral virtues but think “higher”. For both utilitarian’s and ethnologists, virtue requires a little or no thought at all about it.
Actions do not require to be deliberate. They are simply spontaneous to people with virtue. Virtuous acts are motivated by the virtue itself without any self- interest. Moreover, if an act put someone’s life into danger it is no more a purely virtuous act. To conclude, we could argue that in business ethics virtues are quite different that in life. Moral virtues are not the only one considered as “virtues” as Aristotle would say, but “non-moral” virtues (such as specific skills) are necessary to the success of business as a major element of the society.