- Slides: 6
Frankena A Critique of Virtue-Based Ethics • A virtue is a disposition, quality, habit etc. . Not a principle or rule. It is an ethic of BEING. • An ethics that focuses on principles or duty is an ethic of DOING • Frankena argues that both are necessary: • Traits of character must include the disposition to act and • We need principles to know what traits to encourage.
How are we to judge an action? • Are actions to be judged right/wrong on the basis of • Results? • The Principle the action exemplifies? • Or a trait of character?
Frankena's answer • An action is to be judged right or wrong by reference to a principle or set of principles • An act may also be said to be good or bad [praiseworthy or blameworthy] and this moral quality will depend on the agent's motive, intention or disposition in doing it.
Restated: The difference is between an ethics of being and an ethics of doing. • What is the relationship between an ethics of principles [doing] and the development of dispositions [being]? • Frankena views them as complementary aspects of the same morality in which principles are basic. • Praise and blame doesn't come from adherence to principles, but the rightness or wrongness of actions does.
Role of Moral Ideals: or why principles are primary • Moral ideals are motivations to live a certain way [being] • He names two Cardinal Virtues: BENEVOLENCE & JUSTICE. • He argues that all of the virtues can be derived from moral principles • He states that "traits without principles are blind" • It is hard to see what traits we should cultivate without principles. [p. 433]
” If our morality is to be more than a conformity to internalized rules and principle, if it is to include and rest on an understanding of the point of these rules and principles, and certainly if it is to involve being a certain kind of person and not merely doing certain kinds of things, then we must somehow attain and develop an ability to be aware of others as persons, as important to themselves as we are to ourselves, and to have a lively and sympathetic representation in imagination of their interests and of the effects of our actions on their lives. " Frankena, p. 437