DEONTOLOGY VERSUS VIRTUE ETHICS

Virtue ethics is “concerned with Being rather than Doing,” It is “agent-centred rather than act-centred.” Critics maintained that it was unable to provide action guidance and hence, rather than being a normative rival to utilitarian and deontological ethics, it could claim to be no more than a valuable supplement to them.

Immanuel Kant, in his duty-based ethics emphasizes on doing the duty for the sake of duty, which is also the stand of all other deontologists in general. For
example, if a wife falls sick, it is obviously the duty of her husband to take care of her. Duty-based ethics does not give any motivation other than duty.

Virtue ethics offer us virtues like loyalty, compassion, love and the like as motivations to do one’s duty in an effective way. Good virtues motivate us to do our duties. Sometimes this duty-based ethics goes against common sense. For example, during the war time thousands and thousands of innocents like women and children are brutally killed by the army. But army men follow the duty-based ethics, so they simply kill the innocent in order to execute their plan that which is part of duty as army men.

Virtue ethics, however, has inspired many thinkers
to give the right place to principles without making them absolute. As William Frankena notes rightly, “principles without traits [virtues] are impotent and traits without principles are blind.”