IS ETHICS BASED ON VIRTUE?

How should we think about ethics or morality? Is it a code of rules that people agree not to break or a practice that can be taught?

Virtue as a moral reality

Objections

  1. Virtue theory and being virtuous fails to help people facing a crisis, because it doesn't provide any clear rules for action. Should I have an abortion tomorrow? Should I inform society about the corrupt practices of my company. Virtue theory doesn't give us any concrete answers. [Virtue theory is not this kind of theory-and this objection begs the question about what is the most pressing problem in ethics-what to do or who to be. Virtue theory would say that the answer is a matter of the occasion, and the person acting--something that must be determined by practical wisdom by the person facing the choice.]
  2. Virtues vary from community to community. Virtues therefore are relativistic, and possibly at odds.
  3. How many people really do develop (or are capable of developing) character which causes them to act morally? This is described as the most devastating criticism. The Millgram experiments seem to show that situations have more power over people than character. 60% of the population has weak characters if Milgram's conclusions are to be accepted.