Virtue Based Critique of Action Based Ethics Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 September 2016

Virtue Based Critique of Action Based Ethics

Ethics is a way of considering the reality of humanity and the universe in regard to a perception of what is right and what is wrong. Human beings are in constant interaction with their environments, with their surroundings, other people, and the dynamics of the entire world. In aiming to figure out the best way to comprehend and figure out the meaning of ethics, there are basically two branches of ethical perception, virtue based ethics and action based ethics.

Virtue based ethics is rooted in the character of the person, personally sprung considerations of what is right and wrong in the world. This kind of ethical perception is contextual or relational, meaning that there may be different perceptions of what is prudent in various situations. Action based ethics is rooted in overarching social rules, fixed and concrete perceptions of what is right and wrong in the world. This kind of ethical perception is absolute, meaning that there is one prescribed action to be taken in a certain situation.

In considering the two varying kinds of ethical modalities, it is clear that virtue based ethics surpasses action based ethics as a way of perceiving what is right and wrong. Virtue Based Ethics Virtue based ethics is something innate, like an internal radar for determining right from wrong. This radar is constantly active and is perfectly capable of determining of making decisions about ethical beliefs and judgments. Virtue based ethics springs from the conscience of the person making decisions about how to operate in the world in accordance with the varying circumstances of the moment.

With virtue based ethics, there is no external prescription which advises a person what to do in various situations. There is no static formula stating what should be done in order accomplish a goal in an ethical manner. Virtue based ethics is above the laws written by humans, transcends human law. Here, there is no reliance on dictates from a governing body, and the person is completely reliant on one’s own capacity for being able to discern the circumstances of the moment and make decisions about what the best and most ethical path to take.

Action Based Ethics Action based ethics are rooted in absolutism and place faith in the capacity for humans to make overarching determinations of right from wrong. These determinations often come from social discussions about the correct prescription for human law, and action based ethics entrusts that ethical determinations can be placed in the hands of an external judge. In this modality, judgments can be prearranged before considering the case, as ethical dilemmas are considered to be grouped as similar in a variety of ways.

Action based ethics involves the active involvement of government and society in determining static definitions of what is ethical in an array of situations. The problem with action based ethics is that is leaves little room for the contextual and relational variety of the moment and takes decision making power away from the individual and places it in the hands of the government. Action based ethics makes the invalid assumption that certain ethical cases can all be considered according to one prescription and that the government has the authority to overstep the decision making capacity of the individual.

These two factors, government control and social lawmaking, take power away from the individual to utilize the personal virtue based radar in decision making. Superiority of Virtue It is obvious that virtue based ethics is the superior method for evaluating situations in regard to ethics. Individuals should not be stripped of their personal capacity to assess themselves in response to their environments.

For example, financial child support is often determined by a court system, a prescribed amount of money is mandated by the government to be paid to the custodial parent. In a perfect world, the situation would be left for the parents themselves to determine. They would be forced to communicate with one another and figure out the solutions for themselves and their children. When the government steps in, the natural capacity for individuals to assess their own situations in relation to themselves and others is crippled by the prescribed laws of society.

There is no excuse for the government taking away the right of individuals to make their own decisions, and this kind of justice is a product of action based ethics. Conclusion There are two basic ways in which to view the world through ethical lenses, virtue based and action based, and virtue based activity is the natural response to ethical dilemmas. Some people argue for the need for action based ethical ideology, claiming that individuals should not be allowed to make ethical misjudgments which could harm other members of society.

They claim that governments are formed and laws are passed in order to control the members of society who are not rational enough to make good and ethical decisions. However, this claim is not weighty enough to strip away the natural capacity for humans to self govern. It should be up to each and every person to make personal decisions in accordance with one’s own radar for ethical truth, in conjunction with the varying circumstances in which one lives. Society should be able to function without mandating that external laws be imposed upon individuals

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