Nice Summary of Virtue Theory

I like to note nice summaries of philosophical positions when I see them. Here is one about virtue theory:

The idea behind a virtue theory is this. If we have a sufficiently robust account of the proper goal, or good, of an activity, we can identify the characteristics that persons need if they are to pursue that good. The proper objects of evaluation, therefore, include not just the products of successful activity — morally right actions (ethics) or reasonable beliefs (epistemology) — but also the personal characteristics that are essential to that activity. These are the virtues. Furthermore, a virtue theory can guide practice. For if we know the proper goal of an activity and we can discover the states that are required to attain that goal, we might figure out how to cultivate those states. So the success of a virtue theory depends upon having a conception of the good that is robust enough to enable us to identify the states that are required for its pursuit.

Read the whole thing.


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