Virtue is a skill and way of living that one can discern through experience as well as an essence of knowledge or wisdom tending to issue in an action of good and within conformity develop a unity among virtues such as wisdom, temperance, courage, justice, and piety. One interpretation regards the mutual entailment of the virtue goes against the idea of virtues being fragmentary in a person such as one cannot just have a virtue. In order to manifest any virtue, one must manifest other virtuous traits which suggest an idea of inseparability and completeness. The concept of it is all the virtues are connected and obtaining one implies having a moral character that communicates the other virtues. There is a golden mean within virtue that suggest the right amount of the mean is a good thing and a deficiency or an excess amount of a trait is vice. For instance, deficiency in courage shows cowardice and excess is reckless which are like folly because they are vices. Courage in the right amount is a virtue but it does not just stand alone due to virtue being a knowledge.
Courage involves practical wisdom because without wisdom, one would end up in reckless or in cowardly positions. When caught in situation like that the idea is about not just jumping to conclusions but know what to in the right circumstance and acting upon that instinct so it is neither reckless or cowardly. The actions to withstand fears require a thought process to have good in the end. Virtue measures the value and impact on one’s life which may relate to the ideal of human perfection. It seems human perfection is moral character that attains all the virtues and people with dispositions as such are rare. The concept of virtue as an ideal of human perfection constitutes a fully good life or the best life. The best life most likely means a person exemplifying virtuous behavior and the excellence of goodness.
The best life a person can live involving all virtues supports the unity of virtues thesis. The virtues act upon each other to mutually adjust and determine each other in a mechanism. The theory of one virtue implying all the others is questioned due to the outlook of one.
Adams disagrees saying he does not believe in the complete human virtue aspect, the concept of a fully good life because that leads to the concept of Eudaimonia which is human flourishing and the idea that one can always be improved and that their work on a virtuous is never done and a fully good life may not support that suggestion. With the implication of interconnected virtues, the more one person attains of a virtue would mean they also attain more of the other which puts a value and measure of virtues saying that all are equal. That suggests a type of balance that would continue to be altered because the idea that improvement on virtuous behavior is never finished. Adam’s example of the three men involved in the German Auschwitz concentration camp commit actions that questions their moral good character.
With one man participating in the murders of Jews as well as ways to kill them but advocated for better health care, the second man not partaking in any acts of the mass murder but still maintain his friendly relationships with the people guilty of those acts and the final man partaking in acts to save and Jews as well as working undercover in the camp to betray the Nazis he hated but had problems such as infidelity. This interpretation of the virtues of unity would automatically require people to be well-rounded people, but it is difficult to question their character and say if they are morally good people. The example rather suggests that the men having a virtue whether it be kindness or courage, the men seem to have deficiencies. The third man may have good intentions, but it is very obvious that he lacks honesty and integrity seeing that he deceived the people he worked with. The second man lacks good judgment or wisdom despite showing loyalty to his colleagues and the first man’s actions are overall questionable because he does goodness by adding to the healthcare but that did not stop him from participating in the murders. One cannot be perfect unless they manage the perfection of the virtues to a similar and high standard. The virtues in regard to the three men differ in degree which would questions the idea of a complete human virtue.
Another aspect to the theory of the unity of virtues is the virtues being the distinct facets of a whole. The meaning comes across different virtues coming together in a moral character to develop virtuous behavior and each virtue being formulated by a distinct knowledge would add to its moral work. Socrates happens to reject the thesis of virtues being distinct parts of a whole and implications on one another and suggest that different virtues are the same and are just different names added on to virtues which mean the same thing. For instance, piety which is a virtue with segments of humility, love towards others as well as in a religious aspect towards God. Piety is thought of as a form of justice because it permits people to preform commitments and moral imperatives towards others as well as doing what is perceived as good and right in the sight of God.
Justice having many forms such as justice of equality, need-based justice and merit-based justice. Piety seems to have relation to the positive rights which implies obligation. The obligation would refer to actions that help other people and is a good towards society. Not only does it help others but in terms of piety, many would see those actions as right in the sight of God. Justice and piety related in regards of fulfilling obligations of good towards humanity and God.
A theory upon virtues being one and the same is that a virtue is the persisting excellence of being for the good. The good is what benefits society and in their own ways each virtue works towards the good of society. The different terms used upon virtues could be the different aspects of each function of the good of others. Socrates’s theory could be hard to grasp at the idea of human flourishing because in one view the idea that all virtues are the same question moral character. Technically, since improvement is never finished the person may not necessarily exemplify virtuous character.
To have a disposition that is virtuous one may copy others who have better moral character due to the development of character through habituation and as one continues to emulate other the virtue becomes a part of their character. Not exemplifying one virtue could mean that one’s character is not virtuous since they would be the same. As a society, we may not be able to emulate other’s character because they are not virtuous enough.
Others who disagree with Socrates’ thesis say that the virtues should have their own definitions, and the virtues are connected by Interentailment. The foundations of a stoic account virtue are Interentailment, Motivational monism and Knowledge premise which may stem from the idea of a soul being one faculty and from a whole they suggest that the virtues should be singular rather than merged together. The similitude idea of virtues can be an interesting topic upon virtue, but it conveys the message of either having virtuous character or not and limits Eudaimonia.
Pluralism in virtue is the idea of multiplicity within beliefs in what is good. Moral pluralism holds middle ground between moral absolutism which proclaims the idea of a universal set of moral principles used to judge others and the opposing view of moral relativism which suggest the absence of a set of moral principles. Moral pluralism gives the idea of being open-minded discordant opinions and outlooks and introduces character traits of virtue that are embedded in good forms of moral acknowledgement such promotion of value, the bonding and attachments in association to universal love and self-love, showing respect towards people, authority, opinions and modes of creativity. Plurality refers to the central feature of action allowing a person to make themselves known through their actions which are primarily emblematic in sustaining interactions and relationships such in the ideas of speech entails action and action entails speech. Equality and distinction are concepts that enable different perceptions of people. By the virtue of plurality, a person is able of acting and relation on unique and distinct perceptions providing network of intricate activity and relationships to develop where people relate which would be for the excellence of the good. Plural virtues could include classes of virtues with the first being minor virtues which are enhancing to one’s moral character but if a person were to lack them, it may not be considered a deficiency. For a virtue to plural adds a trait that is perceptive but also respective to other opinions and beliefs across many subjects.
Examples such as friendliness and playfulness would be traits that add to one’s good character because people view friendless as a trait that positive, genuine and not hypocritical aspect and playfulness makes others appreciate someone’s process thought and value of things, however if a person became introverted or exhibited traits of dullness, seriousness and solemnity, it can be hardly seen as impairment on a person’s character. The minor virtues would express plurality because the traits are positives in human interactions, actions for the good and add to one’s character for other’s perceptions. The second class involves vocations which are single and distinct ways of a person to be for the good “in terms of goods that one is given to love, and that one does love” (Adams p. 202). Adam’s example of the Frenchman having conflicted thoughts on choosing between resisting a tyrannical monarch or ruler and being loyal to his family which shows compatibility with perception and values.
The irreducible plurality implies incommensurability in that the decision-making process the two options which worrisome to the person, resistance or loyalty, cannot not be necessarily ranked but involves cultivation and the multiplex of other virtues because they cannot not be minimized to common reason. Subjectivisms is a huge concept in virtues that are plural due to them not being a part of everyone’s vocation such as the virtue of generosity or magnificence due to vocations being an individual thing. Pluralism opposes the idea of value monism which proclaims a single type of value and the varying types of pluralism say they can conflict with each other. The precision of expression and art may not be as valued or thought of in similar aspect to that of philosophers and poets.
There are other concepts of pluralism besides moral which can include intellectual pluralism, political pluralism which entail other values stemming from different cultural, belief and environmental systems. The plurality of virtue involves respect for others and the practice of a system of conventional social rituals can be an excellence for the good for others to acquire which can be considered minor virtues such as politeness. Politeness is also used in a cultural context as well as devotion to God and reverence regarding a theistic context and religious rituals. Adams describes the way of virtue as not “strait and narrow as the path of duty” (Adams p. 206) which conveys the subjective aspect of plural virtues regarding values. Virtues being plural are about how people cultivate virtues in decisions regarding their values whether it may apply socially or culturally because beliefs and perceptions vary to people but despite values being individual to every person there is still good intended in the end.To integrate is to unify or combine multiple things in becoming one which could entail the unity of virtue thesis in which one virtue implicated all the other virtues.
Integration has multiple forms such ad self-integration which is related to integrity. Integrity is regarded as the mother of all virtues and defined as a fundamental moral virtue and bedrock which good character is formed and the connection between ethical and moral action. Integrity is regarding those who adhere to a code of moral values as well as uphold volitional expectations through actions of accepting, comprehending and choosing to live in accordance with one’s principles and values. Integrity is thought of in relation to the quality of a person’s moral character and how true they are to their commitments, intentions, beliefs, values, relations and other aspects. Moral integration is defined by Adams as a sort of unity of Virtue and Virtue is the combination of virtues as well as the quality of a person’s life regarding to what degree they exhibit virtuous character and concerns relating to excellences and values supported by wisdom and sensitivity.