Approaches to Conflict Essays

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Virtue Ethics and Deontological Ethics offer appraisal of behaviour in accordance with character traits and dispositions, and ethical rules, respectively. Neither Virtue Ethics nor Deontological Ethics straightforwardly resolves this conflict - both are subject to ambiguity and the conflict problem. Virtue Ethics successfully responds to this objection and more satisfactorily supports reporting the crime, but Deontological Ethics fails to overcome it.
Virtue Ethics evaluates actions and reactions or emotions in accordance with virtues. Virtue Ethics seeks to achieve eudaimonia or the flourishing life for its proponents, which is reached through virtuous excellence (arete). Virtue Ethics uses V-rules such as “be honest”, and “be
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If one is loyal to the friendship yet just, or honest in upholding the promise yet compassionate, the conflict requires one virtue to be subverted for the other to be fulfilled. As such, one is forced to evaluate which of the virtues provides a stronger imperative for action, and Virtue Ethics does little to directly resolve the conflict problem. The agent is very much allowed to choose their course of action, but Virtue Ethics has incorporated this into its theory.

Wise agents are capable of correct interpretation and application of the virtues, avoiding such conflicts as this altogether. An agent with phronesis might see that breaking the promise is a less intense dishonesty than perpetuating one which will have serious ramifications for many people. They are also capable of balancing virtues and ‘looking at the bigger picture’, in that they may see that honesty, justice, compassion, and some forms of loyalty support disclosure of the secret, while there is very limited support for upholding one’s promise.

Virtue Ethics deals with these criticisms effectively by its incorporation of human fallibility. As such, it is possible to be virtuous enough to satisfy the theory’s demands - Virtue Ethics will recognise that conflict is inevitable in this context and no action is completely virtuous. It does not demand that agents exhibit arete, rather that act virtuously

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