Virtue Ethics: an Overview

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The purpose of this essay is to review some significant themes present in the works of Virtue Ethics (VE) authors (mainly, but not exclusively, neo-Aristotelian ones). First it focuses some VE’s criticism versus modern ethics, for example the concentration on duty, arguing, on the contrary, that it is necessary to identify the telos-flourishment of human life and to preserve love-friendship as crucial for societies. According to VE, norms are not sufficient to act well: we need to be inspired by the phronimos and to possess phronesis. That implies the importance of the community and the necessary role of emotions. Then the essay focuses on virtues as dispositions to perform morally good actions and react with the appropriate emotions. Virtue has intrinsic value and makes good action spontaneous, but its primary effect is to enable us to desire, identify, evaluate, command, choose and execute the good in a certain situation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Virtue Ethics
  • ethical role of emotions
  • friendship-love
  • human telos
  • rules’ insufficiency


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