Virtue Ethics

The theory of virtue ethics was derived from the applications of the principles of natural law, particularly about the ideologies of Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle (Besser & Slote, 2015). Even though the theory of virtue ethics has relatively been ignored, neglected, or overlooked during the modernity era, in the recent past, it has realized considerable resurgence the contemporary field of ethical theory. This development is very reassuring because virtue ethics can be regarded as a viable antidote to the current moral decay in the contemporary society ravaged by acts of terrorism and the war and against terror. An excellent example where virtue ethics could be applied could be the incidents that occurred in the Abu Ghraib Jail where US military officers engaged in gross mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners of war.

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The resurgence realized in the last two decades of virtue ethics has been attributed to several factors. The primary factor is revisiting Aristotle’s core ethical questions that focus on determining human excellence and how it can be achieved (Winter, 2012). Through this approach, virtue ethics has been able to reclaim its rightful place in the discussion of ethical and moral conduct. Virtue ethics is an ethical theory that can be embraced by all individuals in the society. The reason is that virtue ethics emphasizes on various attributes that most individuals are passionate about, such as the role of pleasure and the quest for knowledge in an ethical manner. Moreover, it focuses on the correct attitudes that individuals should have towards money and physical possessions, the extent that individuals should have concerns for oneself and others, as well as the weakness of individual will (Winter, 2012). In most instances, these concerns are often regarded to be relatively theoretical challenges rather than practical problems that should be addressed by philosophers. If the US military applied virtue ethics in their training program, the atrocities against prisoners of war at Abu Ghraib jail in Iraq would have been avoided.



Besser, L. L., & Slote, M. (Eds.). (2015). The Routledge companion to virtue ethics. New York: Routledge.

Winter, M. (2012). Rethinking virtue ethics. Dordrecht: Springer.