virtue

Balanced and unbalanced ethics

Moral philosophy has three main schools of thought. Roughly speaking these are – virtue ethics, which focuses on how to be a morally virtuous person, deontology which focuses on deriving/discovering and following moral principles and rules, and consequentialism, which emphasizes looking at the outcomes of an action to determine its moral quality. Technically speaking, I lean towards the consequentialist camp; however I feel that a balanced and mature ethical approach to life only comes from considering all three schools of thought. I’ve tried to illustrate here the shortcomings of focusing only on one or two of the schools of thought.

Diagram of morality including various intersections between a rule, consequence and virtue focus.

Diagram of morality including various intersections between a rule, consequence and virtue emphasis.

Those with a background in philosophy might note that much of my description does reduce to consequences, but I wanted to illustrate in detail how use of both virtue and deontological reasoning are essential to achieve morally good outcomes. Do you agree? Have other thoughts? Let me know by adding your comments!

Advertisements