Aristotle 's Virtue Ethics Over Kantian Deontology Essay

1915 Words Oct 25th, 2016 8 Pages
The following paper argues in favor of Aristotle’s virtue ethics over Kantian deontology. In Kantian deontology, to be ethical is to follow one’s duty by acting on only the rules which one can at the same time rationally will that those actions become universal laws, while in Aristotelian virtue ethics, to be ethical is to develop and internalize virtuous habits until one fully becomes virtuous themselves. In turn, the ethical question of ‘What should I do?’ that deontology asks becomes ‘What should I be?’ with virtue ethics, placing emphasis on internal motivations rather than external actions. I prefer virtue ethics for the reason that virtue ethics seems to promote rather than neglect the development of the agent’s character. Though deontology provides an ethical system to judge the morality of actions, it also seems to restrict morality to only performing dutiful actions.
Virtue ethics is detailed by Aristotle in his book, Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle begins by arguing that “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim,” putting forth the idea that in all activities that we do, we ultimately do them for an common higher purpose. Aristotle continues, “If, then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake (everything else being desired for the sake of this)…clearly this must be…the chief good,”…

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