Approaches to ethics

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A person's behavior that demonstrates a high level of moral standards is considered to be their virtue. Cardinal denotes something that is fundamental, major, or primary. Hence, cardinal virtues are related to the fundamental qualities that a person may exhibit. The other virtues depend on these four virtues. Many virtues have been noted by Toner and James, including (2015). According to eminent philosophers Plato and Aristotle, the cardinal virtues are justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude. The other virtues are supported by the four qualities as a hinge. Plato was the one who initially introduced the cardinal virtues. They were incorporated into the Christian teaching. It implies that anyone can practice the four cardinal virtues.


Prudence is a virtue that is ranked first before others. It refers to the appropriate reason which is mostly applied by people in practice. It helps us make right or wrong decision depending on the situation. Furthermore, mistaking a bad choice for a right indicates that the prudence virtue is not practiced. Since we are prone to error, the wisdom virtue requires us to seek advice from those who are morally upright before we can make a judgment. Like any other virtue, it can be practiced by everyone. Prudence can take a spiritual dimension or the original dimension. An act of prudence may consist of the following three stages: being keen while counseling oneself and receive advice from others, using the available evidence to make correct judgments, applying the norms in directing remaining activities after a prudent decision is made.


According to Bejczy, István, and István, 2011, justice is the second cardinal virtue. It mostly bases its concern with the will. Justice will consider doing well at the time it is required. It requires giving what is rightfully and what is wrong to a person. When practicing justice a person should not consider what he thinks about the other. He should assume the other persons inabilities and do justice as recommended.


Fortitude is the courage that makes us to overcome fear. In recent time it is commonly known as courage. It allows us to continue to be steady when facing obstacles and challenges in life. Therefore, a reasonable person uses the virtue wisely (Bejczy et al, 2011).


It is a virtue that tends to keep us away from excessive drinking, consumption of food and sex. If the mentioned items are in excess then it leads to consequences such as physical and moral destructions. It is the fourth and last cardinal virtue according to Hackett, Rick, and Gordon, 2012.

The four cardinal virtues are necessary and valid for a person to live well. A person requires the prudence virtue to be able to make rational decisions about life. When justice is blinded then equality takes place. A person is able to fulfill his or her own desires. Fortitude gives courage for one to face the reality of life and overcome. Additionally temperance keeps away the person from excess food, drinks and sex that may ruin his morals.

Approaches to ethics

There are three approaches to ethics namely: virtue ethics, consequential, deontological ethics.

Virtue ethics is an approach that tries to explain how one may live his own life. It incorporates questions like what do I want to be? The main principles are integrity, having a set of virtues and also trying to avoid a set of vices.

Consequential ethics looks at the impact that a given virtue would impose. Therefore, the question of being good or bad has to be paused. Taking proper actions will aim at achieving the goals.

Deontological ethics informs on the best ethical decisions. It incorporates principles such as basing on consistent and coherent reasons to make decision, assigning a duty to you, and respecting others.

Works Cited

Toner, James H. Morals under the gun: The cardinal virtues, military ethics, and American society. University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

Bejczy, István Pieter, and István Bejczy. The cardinal virtues in the Middle Ages: A study in moral thought from the fourth to the fourteenth century. Vol. 202. Brill, 2011.

Hackett, Rick D., and Gordon Wang. "Virtues and leadership: An integrating conceptual framework founded in Aristotelian and Confucian perspectives on virtues." Management Decision 50.5 (2012): 868-899.

June 12, 2023

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Human Behavior Moral Virtue

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