Virtuous behavior can be considered to be any good deed done by an individual who belongs to a particular society. It also extends to the avoidance of vices that can in any way affect the well-being of other people. Virtue theorists believe virtuous behavior can be determined by specifically asking the person who practices virtue concerning the reason why he does so and not the contrary. Virtue theorists emphasize the need for virtuous behavior to be geared towards good characters such as kindness and generosity. These are the characters that enable people to make better and informed decisions in life. They do not focus much or rule s which people are supposed to adhere to so as to be practicing virtuous behavior. As for an ancient philosopher like Plato, for someone to be virtuous, he/she must be practicing justice, wisdom, temperance, and courage. Aristotle advocated for control over reason and emotions, and this can be achieved by acquiring good characters and habits. According to the ancient philosopher, Socrates virtuous person is someone who has the knowledge, but this tends to be disputed by modern philosophers. For an action to be considered virtuous, it must originate from an individual and be in the self-interest of whoever is claiming to be virtuous. A virtuous person would engage in acts or activities of which to a minor extent, have an effect on the other members of the society. If someone decides to steal or harm others in any way, he or she might receive the same kind of treatment in the future. This can be a deterrent to people from doing what society considers to be a vice. Virtue comes from the will of someone to do good for the sake of others in society because society is a complex of various interactions. For the purpose of co-existence purposes, people have to be virtuous. Avoiding anti-social behaviors willing for the sake of others in society would constitute a virtuous behavior.
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The religious belief system is a very important component of virtuous behaviors. When an individual decides not to engage in vice-like stealing even when he /she is sure that he /she will not be found doing it, then this constitutes a virtuous behavior. An individual is trying to portray himself with good characters when deep inside he/ she does not do not constitute virtuous behavior. Virtuous behavior is when the interests of society are more important than selfish desires. This can be illustrated in leaders, for instance, when they decide to step aside from their positions just for the sake of a nation. This can constitute virtuous behavior. Before exercising virtuous behavior, knowledge is essential so as to get the clarity between good and bad things that constitute the morality of a given society. It is rationally in the best interest of society when someone acts well or behaves himself even when he clearly knows that society is not watching him. Thus the other people in the society are very important as far as the definition of virtues is concerned. Without it and an isolated self, then virtuous behavior cannot be constituted by an individual or group of people. Therefore in conclusion I can note the virtuous behavior can only be determined by the person who practices certain virtues and those who are affected if there is involvement of an individual in vices in the society.
Immanuel Kant, The Doctrine of Virtue: Part II of the Metaphysic of Morals, trans. Mary Gregor (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), as quoted by J.B. Schneewind, “The misfortune of virtue,” Ethics, 101 (1990), 42–63 at p. 60.
Charles Taylor, “The diversity of goods,” Moral Philosophy: Selected Readings, ed. George Sher, 2nd edn (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1996), pp. 581–93 at p. 589.