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• Virtue Ethics is a perspective
in ethics that focuses on the
character of individuals as
the most significant element
in making moral decisions.
• The uniqueness in the
individual’s character is
emphasized when a moral
choice is made rather than
the rules concerning the acts
themselves (deontology) or
the possible consequences
(consequentialism) that may
arise from the act . Two influential
philosophers , Aristotle and St.
Thomas Aquinas based their
principles on the significance of
virtues in moral dispositions.
1. Aristotle
Aristotle is one of the famous Greek
Philosophers who influenced different
field of knowledge. Aristotle was a
naturalist . In his philosophy, he
emphasized that we must understand
first how nature works before we
begin to make theories.
• He stressed the importance of
natural facts in his philosophy.
In moral philosophy Aristotle
used his metaphysics as basis
for his ethics .According to him,
everything in nature aims at
some ends. This end is a
fulfillment of each thing’s
function and anything that
satisfies it is considered good.
• This idea that everything aim
at something that is good is
known as teleology (telos).
Teleology explains that the
world and everything in it has
design or a purpose,
• Aristotle argued that the good
for anything is for it to be able
to realize its true nature. This
nature is the good within it.
• Applying this concept to human
beings means that the only to
human beings mean that the
only way we can discover the
good in us is through studying
human nature and behavior. In
these studies, however, specific
answers could not be expected
because morals involve
individual judgments. The
presence of individual
differences indicate that people
may or may not agree on moral
• Aristotle further believed that
happiness is the good which
human aspire. Thus, if we are
to achieve happiness we must
fulfill our function as a person
and cultivate moral virtues.
These virtues are habits which
will allow us to achieve
happiness.Aristotle explained
that human fulfillment involves
the soul.
• The soul, according to him
has three parts
– Nutritive. This part of the
soul is described as the
experience of life and involve
the act of living ( like how
plant exist).
– Sensitive. This is described
as experiencing both living
and sensing ( like how animal
• Rational. This includes both the
nutritive and sensitive parts of the
soul together with the mental
processes of thinking, analyzing
and reflecting.
• Human beings must follow the
rational principle which implies
that the goodness in him is an
activity of his soul. This is
accordance with the virtues.
The nutritive and sensitive parts
of the soul oftentimes oppose
the rational principle and this
conflict between rational and
irrational parts ( nutritive and
sensitive) of the soul, according
to Aristotle is the source of
moral problems.
Virtue as Habit
• Moral choices entails actions
thus, human happiness is
dependent upon our rational
choices and virtuous activities.
• Our function as human beings
is to live a virtuous life in
which reason governs our
irrational nature.
• A virtue is a character trait
that makes a good human
being. To have virtue
unfortunately, is not
automatic .
• No moral virtue arises in us
• Aristotle explained that
nothing that exists by nature
can form habits that conflict
with its nature.
• Having moral virtue involves
developing the following
habits :

Right Right Right

Thinking Choice Behavior